Three Philippine business groups have appealed to the Senate to ratify on its last session day what’s deemed to be the largest trade deal in the world so the country can reap billions of pesos in benefits.
In a joint statement issued on the last day of Congress, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), the Makati Business Club (MBC), and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) lobbied for the Senate to ratify the trade agreement involving 15 member-states including the Philippines.
“Exclusion from RCEP would be immensely costly to our economy and our people,” the business groups said. “We can anticipate a significant decline in our exports to RCEP countries, which now account for nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of our total exports, as trade with us will logically be diverted to fellow members.”
The RCEP formalizes free cross-border trade across members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.
“We see our membership in RCEP as an important challenge to our government to step up genuine and meaningful support for Filipino producers, especially in the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the Philippine economy,” the groups added.
“We, therefore, urge the government to provide a substantial increase in the agriculture budget commensurate to that provided in our comparable ASEAN neighbors, as we urge our Senators to ratify the RCEP Agreement without delay.”
The Senate only has until Wednesday, May 31, to ratify the RCEP as it is set to adjourn sine die or for good.
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