PRIB PHOTO: Clarificatory questions on RCEP

CLARIFICATORY QUESTIONS ON RCEP: Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, during the interpellation period on proposed Senate Resolution No. 485, concurring in the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement Monday, February 20, 2023, asks Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri and Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, sponsor and co-sponsor of Resolution 485, respectively to explain the rationale of RCEP. According to Zubiri, the agreement is about establishing a clear, stable and predictable rules for trade and investment in the region so it would be more convenient and competitive for businesses and investors to be integrated in the global economy. Estrada also cited reports on how India declined to join RCEP in 2019 because it was concerned about the increased trade deficits with countries it has trade agreements and the lack of safeguards to respond to import surges and threat of import competition in agriculture. Estrada also wanted to know how delay in the ratification of RCEP would affect the Philippines. Zubiri said neighboring countries would take over more markets the longer the Philippines would delay the ratification of RCEP. The Senate President also explained the withdrawal of India is also a geo-political issue and the two countries do not get along that well. Estrada expressed optimism that job opportunities might arise under the agreement. “Will the RCEP have the potential to create quality jobs and increase wages? Do you have a breakdown on the number of jobs to be created each year?” Estrada asked. In response, Zubiri said the Philippines would have an opportunity to create 1.4 million jobs by 2031 if the RCEP is ratified. He said the agri sector stands to get about 308,000 jobs, the industry about 77,600 jobs while job opportunities in the services sector are estimated at 991,700. He said that under the RCEP scenario, almost 73,000 jobs could be created during the first year with 20,000 jobs for the agri sector and almost 60,000 jobs for the services sector. He said 203,000 jobs could be created during the second year and so on and so forth until the number would reach 1.4 million jobs. (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)