Despite the setback on the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Philippines joins 14 other economies in the region in seizing opportunities the free trade will create.
In a statement, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Philippines stands to gain from the free trade pact as there will be a wider cumulation to source materials, and export products at a preferential rate in bigger markets while at the same time encouraging investments in manufacturing, energy, and technology-based industries.
Lopez said the Philippines is in a strategic location in the region, and it can be the formidable link of various economies not just in RCEP but the continents in the world.
At the 3rd RCEP Leaders’ Summit on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated it is not possible for India to join RCEP noting its unresolved issues and concerns.
The 15 other country leaders, however, expressed optimism a free trade region will not only enhance economic integration but will create more opportunities for businesses and investors.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a statement quoted Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad as saying emphasized “Asean is rich with natural resources and has a huge population with increasing purchasing power. Therefore, there are many commercial opportunities for international trade and investments.”
RCEP leaders recognize the importance of a stable, predictable, and transparent business environment; and a trade agreement provides the framework by which economies vow to make good this environment.
The RCEP countries aim to sign the deal next year.