Trade rep office urgent, FairTrade said

THE creation of a Trade Representative Office to strategize and synchronize trade policies and negotiations is urgent, said the multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FairTrade), a broad coalition pushing for trade and economic reforms.

FairTrade is pushing for the early passage of HB 4798 and SB 234 creating the Philippine Trade Representative Office. It will also put in place coherence and closer coordination with local producers in the formulation of the country’s trade negotiating strategy.

According to FairTrade, this Trade Representative Office, with multisectoral representation, should be mandated to take the lead in Philippine trade negotiations, review trade policies and trade commitments, and identify countries that discriminate against Philippine goods.

Wigberto E. Tañada, lead convenor of FairTrade said, “The creation of the Philippine Trade Representative Office should remedy the problem of ad-hocism on trade negotiations and the lack of a clear, cohesive and integrated trade and development strategy.”

In order to insure that the interests of local industry and agriculture are represented in the Trade Representative Office, the proposed Office shall have representatives from these sectors and shall be required to conduct regular consultations and reporting, including the holding of policy workshops with industry and agriculture. The proposed Trade Representative Office should also have oversight powers over the jobs of trade and agricultural attaches posted overseas.

The importance of having a single trade coordination office is made more urgent by the multiplicity of global, regional and bilateral trade negotiations facing the country today.

FairTrade cited one aberration in the present trade negotiation system, the reliance on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the lead negotiator in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and bilateral agreements even if offers on the table involve agriculture. This results in grave mistakes because the DTI is naturally not conversant with issues in agriculture, Tañada explained.

FairTrade further said that a clear trade negotiating framework is sorely missing not only in the WTO but also in the regional and bilateral trade talks. The bill seeks to establish an office that is responsible for developing and coordinating the country’s international trade, commodity and direct investment policy, and overseeing negotiations with other countries.


  1. 1 Trade rep office bill tops house unit wish list « FairTradeWeb

    […] FairTrade has been pushing the government for the creation of the Philippine Trade Representative Of… […]

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  • Founded in 2001, the Fair Trade Alliance (FairTrade) of the Philippines is a broad multisectoral coalition of formal and informal labor, industry, agriculture, NGOs and youth pushing for trade and economic reforms.
  • FairTrade seeks to promote a job-full and progressive Philippine economy through: (1) the promotion of fair trade rules and active agro-industrial policies based on the existing development needs of the nation, (2) the development of a positive agro-industrial culture to foster innovation, hard work and solidarity between and among the productive sectors of Philippine society, and (3) the transformation of an economy debased and stunted by colonial mentality, unequal trade and neo-liberal dogma into a modern, sustainable and broad-based.
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