German chamber says PHL on equal footing with neighbors after approving RCEP

THE German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GPCCI) said the Senate’s recent vote to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) puts the Philippines in a position to better compete with its neighbors.

“The inclusion of the Philippines in RCEP would allow the country to finally access economic benefits and will put us on equal footing with our neighbors in ASEAN region as well as Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand,” GPCCI President Stefan Schmitz said in a statement on Thursday.  

The RCEP, billed as the world’s largest free trade agreement (FTA), was ratified by the Senate on Feb. 21. Participating countries are entitled to the import and export of goods with minimal to zero restrictions on quantity, tariffs, or import taxes.

RCEP members include the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

The FTA is set to take effect in the Philippines in May.

“We are confident that the Philippines’ entry into RCEP can finally complement the advantages brought about by the economic reforms such as the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Public Service Act,” GPCCI Executive Director Christopher Zimmer said.  

“Furthermore, we are confident that RCEP shall further strengthen the Philippines’ position in the region, promote more investments, and improve market access,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave