Fair Trade renews appeal for renegotiation of Jpepa

Published B2 in the January 23, 2008 issue of the Manila Times
By Katrina Mennen A. Valdez

The Fair Trade Alliance has appealed anew for a renegotiation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement following the proposal of Sen. Mar Roxas to ratify the accord.

FTA head Wigberto Tanada said the Philippines should still push for renegotiation, citing the admission of Roxas that there is little, if at all, to be gained if JPEPA is ratified, except that the country will be left behind if it is not.

“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,” Tanada said.

The Filipinos should accept only “a win-win situation, a mutually beneficial economic partnership” and not settle for a “tie-lose” scenario, he added.

FTA clarified it is not against economic partnerships with any country as this is inevitable in a globalized economic environment, but that the government must ensure that any trade arrangement it enters into will “truly serve and support” the national development agenda.

The lobby group further said that “close to 90 percent of Philippine exports to Japan are already enjoying duty-free access to Japan, whether there is JPEPA or not.”

On the other hand, FTA said local industries stand to suffer since JPEPA allows the entry of used clothing and second-hand vehicles to the Philippines.

“The Senate must correct these patently one-sided contents in JPEPA so that it will effectively benefit Philippine industries and the Filipino people,” Tanada said.


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