MANILA – The China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP will “integrate” all existing free trade deals in the ASEAN, benefiting its members in the long run, an analyst said Wednesday.
The Philippines can reap “incremental” gains depending on what “additional access” a region-wide free trade agreement will open up in the future, University of Asia and the Pacific international economics professor George Manzano told ANC.
“What it does is it puts them all together, it subjects all the members in a common rule but what’s important there is that among our partners, China, Korea, Japan, now with RCEP they can start trading with each other under RCEP,” Manzano said.
A regional free trade pact will also open a wider market for imports and exports, while encouraging investments in manufacturing, energy and technology-based industries, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement.
“The Philippines, inherently, is in a strategic location in the region, and it can be the formidable link of various economies and continents in the world, from east to west, from the northern and southern Americas, and into the Asian countries and vice versa.” Lopez said.
RCEP is a trade pact between the 10-member ASEAN bloc, along with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, which previously included India.
-- with a report from Agance France Presse