'ASEAN integration to prepare PH for Trans-Pacific Partnership'
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is a good preparation for the Philippines' participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
AEC envisions the free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labor, and freer flow of capital among the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) member states: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
TPP, meanwhile is an ambitious effort that, if finally concluded, will not only reduce tariffs among participating markets, but also establish standards for a number of issues, such as intellectual property, environment protection, and labor rights.
The TPP is being negotiated between the US and 11 other countries, namely Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. These countries account for about 40% of the global economy.
To take to part in the TPP, the Philippines must take proactive steps to review certain areas of its regulatory environment, PCCI president Alfredo Yao shared coming from his recent meeting with US ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.
Yao also cited the need to improve infrastructure that will enable industries to benefit from the country's international trade commitments.
As the Philippines' is gearing up for ASEAN 2015, there are plenty of opportunities to scale up the value chain and promote trade and investment activities.
“ASEAN 2015 is an important vehicle for the Philippines to prepare itself for its eventual participation in the TPP,” Yao said.
"PCCI views that that TPP is an important agreement to consider and also acknowledges the need for reforms to support the Philippine participation in the negotiations process," he added.
US supports the Philippines' reforms toward achieving inclusive growth, Goldberg reaffirmed during the meeting.
Continuous US support
In 2011, the Philippines and the US signed the Partnership for Growth, which provides the development strategy for Philippines and US engagement in relation to supporting regulatory reforms, rule of law, anti-corruption and private sector development.
"With longstanding relationship between the US and the Philippines on trade, economic, and political affairs, this meeting enabled us to discuss how we in PCCI can support the various initiatives between the US and Philippine governments in support of partnership for growth,"
The private sector plays an important role in promoting reforms that will accelerate the Philippines' growth and equip it for an enhanced global trade regime, Goldberg acknowledged.
The passage of Competition Law and the Customs Modernization and Tariffs Acts is important, Yao noted.
Promoting efficiencies in the power sector is also vital. The US, through the USAID has been providing technical assistance to Philippine electrical cooperatives in aggregating their demand for power supply to achieve scale and bring down costs, Yao said.
Demand aggregation has long been promoted by PCCI to attract more investments in power generation and address both supply shortage and rate competitiveness, he added. – Rappler.com