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MANILA, Philippines – Federation of Philippine Industries, Inc. (FPI) through their letter dated 24 January 2022 to the Senate extends their support for the country’s participation to the  Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, and seeks the Senate’s immediate concurrence.

According to FPI Chairman Dr. Jesus Lim Arranza, “We believe that the Philippines will immensely benefit from this trade agreement as the same will strengthen and enhance the country’s market access to goods and business services within the participating countries.”

He stated that Filipino skilled workers will stand to benefit from the agreement through the creation of employment opportunities in various sectors.

“The RCEP will also open up various employment opportunities for our skilled Filipino workforce in a comprehensive range of sectors, such as professional services, education services, banking services, among others”, Arranza added.

In addition, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), comprising 99.51% of all businesses in the country will also benefit.

Dr. Arranza explained that “With this agreement in place, we can pump more financial lifeblood to one of the country’s pillars of growth, our struggling MSMEs, by gaining access to cheaper raw materials for production and manufacturing while at the same time having access to a big integrated market of 15 countries for their products and services.”

On the aspect of agriculture, Dr. Arranza emphasized that noting  “that sensitive agricultural products such as rice, corn, coffee, meat, garlic, and sugar, have been excluded from tariff liberalization, our local farmers can also reap a significant number of benefits as they will have better access to cheaper farm inputs and farm implements that can be used to boost their production. They may even be encouraged in the long run to increase production or diversify agricultural products to access the huge market.”

The RCEP Agreement, signed by 15 Signatory States on 15 November 2020 entered into force for 10 countries namely – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand on 1 January 2022, while South Korea will be implementing the same on 1 February 2022. ♦

Date of Release: 26 January 2022