Philippines keen on Trans-Pacific free trade area – Philstar.com

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Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) – March 25, 2021 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has expressed its intention to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“(Trade) Secretary (Ramon) Lopez has already written New Zealand as the depository country of the CPTPP, that the Philippines intends to accede to the CPTPP,” Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said during a webinar.

Lopez said in a Viber message that  the letter was sent to New Zealand a few weeks ago.

CPTPP is a free trade agreement (FTA) entered into by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in December 2018.

The FTA covers market access commitments in trade in goods, services, investments, labor mobility, government procurement, protection of the environment and labor rights, intellectual property and inclusive trade.

A country can join the CPTPP subject to negotiations with the current members.

Apart from the CPTPP, Rodolfo said the Philippines is also working on other trade agreements.

He said the Philippines agreed to start exploring negotiations for a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with India.

“We are also in the final stages of negotiations for an FTA with Korea as well as PTAs with Chile, Pakistan and Turkey,” he said.

In November last year, the Philippines was among the countries that signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and trade partners Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

RCEP which forms the world’s largest trade bloc, covers trade in goods and services, and investment and economic cooperation, as well as emerging trade areas such as intellectual property, e-commerce, government procurement and competition.

The DTI earlier  said it aims to complete the ratification of RCEP this year.

Rodolfo said the FTAs would allow the country to benefit through access to key markets.

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