Fair Trade Alliance renews call to renegotiate JPEPA

Published in the January 23, 2008 edition of The Daily Tribune
By Ayen Infante

The multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FTA) has renewed its call for the renegotiation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) amid the proposal of Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas to prioritize the full ratification of the trade deal.

FTA lead convenor and former Sen. Wigberto Tanada expressed high hopes that Roxas, will still change his mind since admitting that there is no or little gain in ratifying JPEPA.

Roxas was reported as saying JPEPA is a case of tabla-talo (tie or lose) once it was not ratified.

“Fair Trade thought that Senator Roxas, after several public hearings on JPEPA, was able to see the economic balances in the treaty and the serious constitutional flaws, and that it was inferior to the agreements entered into by Japan with Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The Filipino people cannot accept a tabla-talo scenario. What we want is a win-win situation, a mutually beneficial economic partnership,” Tañada pointed out.

“We are not against economic partnership with any country, in this case Japan, because this is not inevitable under a more globalized economic environment. But we must be cautious about entering into these trade arrangements so that in the end it will truly serve and support the national development agenda of the country,” Tanada emphasized.

Fair Trade also argued that it is not true that more market opening will happen if there is JPEPA, in fact, as of now close to 90 percent of Philippine exports to Japan are already enjoying duty-free access, On the other hand, local industries will suffer because JPEPA allows the entry of used clothing (ukay-ukay) and second-hand vehicles to the Philippines.

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