MANILA, PHILIPPINESDepartment of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual stressed on Friday that the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement would attract more investments and trade opportunities to the country.

“As RCEP takes effect, we commit to supporting Philippine businesses in becoming more productive and competitive within the region and globally. RCEP is a mega free trade deal that will also facilitate the influx of more investments in the country,” Pascual said during the press briefing conducted by the DTI on June 2, where he discussed the benefits of the agreement for various sectors and industries.

The agreement took effect today, 2 June 2023 and is expected to deepen existing economic integration within the broader region.

RCEP countries account for 30 percent of global GDP and one-third of total inward foreign direct investments (FDIs) as of 2022.

“Becoming part of RCEP signals to the community of nations that the Philippines remains adherent to the rules-based trading system. Through this regional FTA, we re-commit to collaborative efforts that ensure global trade stays open, efficient, and resilient to potential disruptions,” Pascual added.

RCEP also enables the implementation of advanced customs procedures for participating countries, allowing for more efficient and streamlined trade within the region.

Further, under RCEP, exporters will only need to be familiar with a single set of rules of origin (ROO) in order to avail of preferential market access, compared to multiple ROO for existing trade agreements.

With RCEP, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises can be integrated into global value chains (GVCs) through access to cheaper raw materials and a reduced barrier to entry for exporting due to a flexible certification process for availing of preferential trade arrangements.

On the other hand, MSMEs which are not directly involved in exporting will be able to easily provide their goods and services to value-added firms engaged in GVCs.

DTI is set to undertake an intensified trade education and advocacy campaign this month, targeted to various sectors that will be directly affected by the agreement as part of its efforts to increase awareness and utilization of RCEP and other Philippine trade agreements. *

Date of release: 02 June 2023