THE Philippines is eyeing to deposit the instrument of ratification for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on or before April 3, according to an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“We still have to deposit the instrument of ratification and from deposit, you’ll have to count 60 days and then RCEP will take effect in the Philippines,” Allan B. Gepty, DTI Assistant Secretary and the Philippines’s top negotiator for RCEP, told reporters on the sidelines of a Committee Meeting held in Makati City on Tuesday.
“We are just in the middle of domestic preparations and then I think on or before April 3 [our plan is to] deposit [the] instrument of ratification,” Gepty said, partly in Filipino.
With this, the country’s top negotiator for RCEP said the regional trade deal might take effect in June for the Philippines.
Within the 60-day period, however, Gepty stressed that the country should be done with the necessary issuances such as the drafting of an executive order, which will contain the “schedule of tariff commitment of the Philippines which will be attached and incorporated.”
During a virtual media briefing in February, after 20 senators voted to ratify the mega trade deal, Gepty explained the process: “And then, of course, once it’s signed by the President, that will be the basis of the Bureau of Customs [BOC] as they issue a Memorandum of Circular implementing the RCEP agreement based on the schedule of commitments in that Executive Order.”
“So we have to make sure the necessary issuances like Executive Order, Customs Memorandum Order, [for the] implementation part, there is no longer any problem. It all should jive,” Gepty said.
Upon the effectivity of the regional trade deal 60 days after the deposit of instrument of ratification of the Asean Secretary General, the immediate impact of RCEP that will be felt by the country would be the “wider cumulation or sourcing of raw materials,” Gepty said, noting that the Philippines would then be part of the world’s largest free trade area.
This means local producers and manufacturers, “can now source their raw materials and intermediate goods from these 14 countries and then in their manufacturing activities, production activities here in the country, they can export these goods at a preferential rate or treatment in these RCEP parties,” Gepty explained.
After the Senate concurred in RCEP’s ratification in February, foreign business groups said they look forward to working with the Philippine government to improve the Philippines’s investment climate in light of the “new opportunities” that the trade deal provides.
The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC), in a statement in February, said the Senate’s green light of the treaty “reinforces the decision of many of our members to invest in the Philippines and will attract more investment from our home countries.”
In line with this, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual signaled the Philippines’s readiness to attract investors in the country, particularly in the areas of manufacturing and innovation.
The RCEP region accounts for 50 percent of the global manufacturing output, 50 percent of global automotive products, 70 percent of electronic products, and the main global value chain (GVC) hubs of China, South Korea, and Japan.