Trade rep bill timely, says FairTrade

THE Fair Trade Alliance hails the decision of the House of Representatives’ Secretariat recommending the passage of the bill creating the Philippine Trade Representative Office (PTRO). “The PTRO seeks to provide policy coherence and consistency in varied trade talks,” says Wigberto Tañada, Lead Convenor of the Alliance.

As proposed, the PTRO will serve as the single agency responsible for coordinating international, regional and bilateral trade talks as well as holding consultations with the representatives of the basic sectors such as industry, farmers, small businesses, workers and artisans. In the United States, the US Trade Representative overseers all global trade talks based on active consultations with hundreds of industry associations and producer groups in America.

“It’s about time that the Philippine Trade Representative Office be created. This office will remedy the problem of ad-hocism in trade negotiations, which betrays the sad absence of a clear, cohesive and integrated trade and development strategy that the country is pursuing,” Tañada explained.

FairTrade was active in pressing the 13th Congress to pass the Bill creating the Philippine Trade Representative Office. Unfortunately, the last Congress was unable to pass the Bill even if the Bill succeeded in getting wide support from a large bipartisan group of legislators in both Houses.

“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 the products of Philippine industries and agriculture,” Tañada said.

The House of Representatives Secretariat – composed of the Congressional Planning and Budget Department (CPBD) and the Committee Affairs Department – has recommended the passage of 18 other measures to promote trade and enable the survive in the global market.

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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.
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