In the Philippines, even among business leaders there is still very little appreciation of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) for its beneficial effects on the Philippine economy. For instance, some claim that the contents of the TPP Agreement are a secret. The TTP is envisioned to be similar to the European Common Market. The goal is to eliminate trade barriers especially tariffs and quotas among countries in the Asia Pacific region. The first batch of signatories included Australia, Brunei, Canada Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.
Although the Philippines is not in the first batch, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario stated, two months ago, in a round table discussion, that the Philippines had begun preliminary negotiations to join the second batch of TPP countries. Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo has also said that Philippines want to join the TPP.
The first batch of TPP has four ASEAN members â€“ Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. In a recent Bloomberg report, it said that the biggest beneficiary of the TPP would be Vietnam because it would have the lowest wage policy compared to the other member-nations. Once the Philippines joins, this nation will certainly be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this new Common Market.
There is a possibility that joining the TPP might result in the Philippines being flooded with duty free American made products.
Textiles and apparel are among the product categories that will be duty free. The major textile and apparel countries â€“ China, Bangladesh, Cambodia â€“ are not going to join the TPP. This presents a golden opportunity for the Philippines to revive its textile and apparel industries.
Since China is organizing its own Common Market, the manufacturing hub of the TPP will be Vietnam and, hopefully, the Philippines. However, Indonesia is also expected to join and is also another potential hub.
The United States is interested in joining because the TPP will open up new markets for its service industries. This will present potential competition for local companies in the financial and professional services. However, this also presents new opportunities for the Philippines.
The 12 countries now in the TPP account for 40% of the world economy. The next batch of nations will include, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. The TPP will create the most powerful and wealthiest economic region in the world.
The Philippines must join the Trans Pacific Partnership, among Filipino companies, there will be winners and losers. But for the nation as a whole, joining the TPP will mean more jobs, faster economic growth and reduction in poverty.
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