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The Philippines sees the advantages of being part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to gain access to markets where it has no free trade agreement (FTA).
In a press conference, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said te Philippines has written New Zealand, repository country of CPTPP,
to formally inquire on the process under which new economies may become parties to the CPTPP, particularly on the operationalization of the accession.
Rodolfo said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in the February 2021 letter also asked what would possibly be the request of CPTPP for market access from the Philippines if it does accede to the deal.
“It is critical for us to engage CPTPP members that are currently not partners of the Philippines in any FTA,” Rodolfo said, adding that the country can also seek support of the CPTPP members which are currently its partners in several FTAs in seeking concessions.
The Philippines has no FTA with four of the 11 CPTPP members Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile although the last two are not participating members.
Canada and Mexico are seen as a gateway to a key market with which the Philippines has no FTA, the United States. The three form the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement.
CPTPP was signed by the 11 countries on March 8, 2018 and entered into force on Dec. 30, 2018 for Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
The deal is yet to enter into force for Peru, Chile, Malaysia and Brunei.