The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) urges the Senate to immediately ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement noting the advantages it will bring to the industry that employs over 3 million direct and indirect workers in 2020.

Dan Lachica, SEIPI President wrote in their position paper, “the country’s participation in this partnership will allow us to take advantage of the enhanced market access, more sources of raw materials, and improved trade relations with the countries already implementing the agreement.”

He highlighted that the improvement on the Philippines’ Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) net inflows which is at 48.1% increase in January to October 2021 compared to 2020 of the same period, as reported by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), may be affected by the country’s non-ratification of the RCEP Agreement. Investors will be discouraged if such will happen and forestall post-pandemic economic recovery and growth.

Furthermore, he emphasized that the electronics industry which in 2020 accounted for USD39.67-B, or 62.2% of the Philippines’ total commodity export, and employs over 3 million direct and indirect workers will benefit from the Agreement.

“Due to its liberalization of trade by eliminating 90% of tariffs within member countries, active participation in RCEP will reduce the overall cost of imported materials and exported goods for the electronics industry. Being the largest trade pact representing 50% of global manufacturing output and 70% of electronics, RCEP can provide the Philippines greater market access by increasing trade with China, Australia, New Zealand, and other ASEAN countries”, Lachica added.

The Agreement which will increase market access with RCEP member countries will also complement SEIPI’s electronic roadmap. “This may likewise move the Philippine electronics industry up the global value chain, which is the goal of SEIPI’s electronics roadmap called PATHS (Product and Technology Holistic Strategy)”, wrote Mr. Lachica.

In addition to the fact that the RCEP will increase market access for the industry, the 15-member Agreement will also be complementary to certain provisions of the CREATE Act which was signed in 2021.

In terms of the country’s competitiveness as an investment hub for the semiconductors and electronics industry, “the ratification of the RCEP is a big step in improving our competitiveness as an investment destination for semiconductors and electronics, most especially against our ASEAN neighbors who are significantly doing better”, Mr. Lachica wrote.

The RCEP Agreement is a 15-member trading bloc signed by the Philippines in 15 November 2020. Since 1 January 2022, the Agreement is implemented by its 10 Signatory States – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand. South Korea and Malaysia will be implementing the same on 01 February and on 18 March 2022, respectively. As of date, the Philippines’ ratification of the Agreement is being deliberated in the Senate for concurrence. ♦

Date of Release: 31 January 2022