FairTrade to Senate: Renego still the best option for JPEPA

As the Senate goes on with final stage of consultation hearings with government negotiators, domestic industrial and agricultural producers, and the civil society groups, the multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FairTrade) strongly urges the Senate to inexorably decide for the interest of the nation by concluding to renegotiate JPEPA, as this is the only viable solution to cure the inherent imbalances of this treaty and become acceptable to Filipinos.

“There is no other way but to renegotiate JPEPA because in the past six Senate hearings the government negotiators were not able to justify the merits of JPEPA” FairTrade said.

“This is because JPEPA has many loopholes. One of them is that it runs counter with the Philippine Constitution. If we want to trade with Japan, we should trade in a fair and respectable manner, which respects the limitations of the Constitution.”

Justice Feliciano, an expert on international trade, is strongly doubtful that JPEPA will pass the test of the Constitution. He already submitted his expert opinion to the Senate and summarized the unconstitutional provisions in the JPEPA and the need for it to be renegotiated, if the country does not want to be hauled into international courts for violations of the Philippines to the treaty.

On the other hand, business groups are saying that JPEPA will expand and open new markets for Filipino manufacturing exports, especially garments, electronics, auto and auto parts, and furniture.

“But these exports are already being exported to Japan whether there is JPEPA or not. As of now, around 90 percent of Philippine exports to Japan are already enjoying duty-free entry to the Japanese markets. So what new Japanese markets are we talking about?” FairTrade asked.

“The government negotiators and the proponents of JPEPA are misleading the public about the benefits of JPEPA. The real danger is that some industries will collapse and many jobs will be lost because of JPEPA”.

Automotive Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA), already expressed its concern over JPEPA because the entry of second-hand vehicles, that is being allowed by the treaty, could dislocate 77,000 jobs in their industry. The steel and iron industry also expressed the same discomfort on JPEPA because the flooding of steel imports could threaten the viability of their industry. The hundreds of thousands of jobs in the garments and textile industry could also be threatened with the entry of ukay-ukay garments, which is also being permitted under JPEPA.

“All of these show the unevenness and unfairness of JPEPA to the Philippine domestic industry and we are happy that an increasing number of senators are now clearly seeing the huge imbalances of JPEPA, its unconstitutionality, and its empty promises of new markets and new investments, which the government negotiators and the pro-JPEPA are crowing about and we hope that in the end the senators will vote for the renegotiation of JPEPA, which FairTrade thinks is the best thing to do for the nation.”

“This lop-sided agreement must not be repeated. Trade negotiators must be held strictly accountable for their mistakes, which have, unfortunately, created this big JPEPA fiasco.” FairTrade added.


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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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