Disclose ASEAN-Japan deal, NGO says

The multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FairTrade) urges the Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila to disclose the contents of the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and other possible agreements before any signing takes place during the 11th ASEAN-Japan, 11th ASEAN-Republic of Korea and 6th ASEAN-India Summits.

In a letter addressed to Sec. Favila, former Senator and FairTrade lead convenor Wigberto Tañada cited the ASEAN summit taking place on November 18 to 22 in Singapore wherein the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is slated to be inked.

“We, at FairTrade, are asking: where are the consultations regarding these agreements?  Who will be the winners and losers in this ASEAN-Japan deal? And why is it at this point in time that we’ll be signing the agreement when we have a JPEPA to think and worry about,” Tañada said.

“We just learned that the ASEAN-Japan agreements will be implemented ahead of JPEPA and that the contentious issues on transboundary movement of toxic waste which was initially included in JPEPA might be carried out in the ASEAN-Japan trade deal.

We’re afraid that the ASEAN-Japan will overwrite the country’s amendments and conditionalities in JPEPA.”
“In the spirit of transparency, we urge DTI to shed some light to the ASEAN-Japan economic agreement by disclosing it before signing any agreement in Singapore,” Tañada added.

The ASEAN-Japan agreement covers trade in goods, services, investments, rules of origin, dispute settlement mechanism, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, technical barriers to trade, and economic cooperation. Japan also wishes to incorporate intellectual property rights in the agreement.

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