Favila on JPEPA: ‘Let it work first’


By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:49:00 10/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The government appealed on Monday to critics to give the newly ratified Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) a chance, especially in the wake of the financial crisis sweeping across the globe.

“We have to let it work first,” Trade Secretary Peter Favila told reporters during the inauguration of the new RFM Corp. pasta plant in Mandaluyong City.

Favila said free-trade agreements such as the JPEPA would be more important for the Philippines in cushioning the impact of the global monetary crisis on the local economy.

“With so many problems in the financial markets, all the more that we need these FTAs,” he said in Filipino.

But Favila gave sectors opposed to the bilateral agreement with Japan a glimmer of hope, citing a provision in the JPEPA allowing either country to initiate a renegotiation of specific items.

“We will see as we go along on how the treaty works on both sides,” he said.

The Senate ratified the JPEPA last week despite criticisms pointing to the perceived imbalance of economic benefits allegedly tilted in favor of the Japanese.

The Arroyo administration was ostensibly exploring other markets outside of the US, its traditional trading partner, to help insulate the Philippines from the possible economic fallout emanating there.

Last week, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo drumbeat the bright prospects coming from countries like China as new top export markets for Philippine electronic and agricultural products.

On Monday, she encouraged private businesses especially in Muslim Mindanao to explore more trading opportunities with Middle East countries.

“The bastions of wealth with both financial capacity and quick execution are the Middle East powers, given their oil-driven wealth and their unitary government apparatus,” she said in her speech at the RFM plant inauguration.

“The fact that the Philippine has a Mindanao close to the hearts of Middle East powers opens up such opportunities.” (PDI)

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My Take:

Same old appeal.  “Try nyo munang inumin ang lason, at pag namatay kayo e lason nga yan.”  Wehehehe.

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