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With the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the Philippines is now setting its sights on the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a official of the Department of Trade and Industry said.
“The Secretary [Ramon Lopez] said [to] take a look at the CPTPP, now that the RCEP is already finished. He said to restart the study again about the CPTPP and explore [joining],” said Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo.
Signed in 2018, the CPTTP is a free trade agreement (FTA) between 11 countries including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Rodolfo said that for the past several years, all parties focused on .RCEP negotiations.
Now that the mega trade deal was signed, Rodolfo said that they can now focus on other FTAs.
Trade Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty, meanwhile, said that negotiations for an FTA between the Philippines and South Korea will hopefully be concluded next year.
“For our bilateral negotiations [with Korea], we’re almost on the last stage or the finish line. There are only two big issues. We have to finish the chapter on economic and technical cooperation but that is easy. It is just a matter of fine tuning the provisions and easily that can be resolved,” he said.
“The big challenge is market access negotiations. We have yet to receive a reasonable offer from Korea because we have requested that they still cannot give, so hopefully, the first quarter of next year at the latest this will be finished,” added Gepty.
The FTA aims to enhance both parties’ market access for products and services. It is also seen to open more opportunities for investment and collaboration for research and development.