January 13, 2012
ANGARA ON JPEPA: "LIBERALIZED TRADE IS THE WAY TO GO"
TOKYO, JAPAN --- Senator Edgardo J. Angara today voiced his strong support to the continuing bilateral partnership of the Philippines with Japan through the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership or JPEPA in the 20th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), urging other countries to forge similar ties.
"Through this bilateral agreement, market access of Philippine products to Japan has been enhanced, and the direct investment flows of Japanese capital as well as transfer of technology into the Philippines increased," noted Angara.
Based on a study conducted by The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) following the implementation of JPEPA, tariff rates on 95% of PH exports to Japan have been reduced, foreign direct investment from Japan to the Philippines rose from 9% in 2008 to 58% in 2009, and sustained at 28% for the first half of 2010.
Speaking in front of parliamentarian delegates of 19 countries, Angara urged, "I think this is the way to go, to expedite the economic recovery not only in Asia but elsewhere in the world: through liberalized trade and a more focused if not bilateral at least regional focus on regional cooperation."
Overall, the Japanese trade and investment contribution to the Philippines' real Gross Domestic Product has been estimated to increase more than tenfold, from 0.09% to 3.03% as a result of the bilateral partnership. Ratified in 2008, the JPEPA is currently on its fourth year of implementation.
Urging continuous bilateral dialogue and project review, Angara continues, "But this is not an automatic self-running, self-operating agreement. It is incumbent upon both parties to jointly monitor its implementation and immediately remedy whatever kinks and weaknesses they may discover in the process of implementation. Both parties have agreed to review and remedy them this year."
The Philippine Delegation to the APPF headed by Senator Franklin Drilon, and joined by Angara, together with Reps. Victor Ortega and Rene Relapagos, will be in Tokyo from January 8 to 12. The APPF is an annual conference that brings together parliamentarians from the Asia-Pacific region to discuss regional politics and security, economy and trade, and inter-regional cooperation. It is hosted this year by the National Diet of Japan.
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