Despite Opposition, Philippines Ratifies RCEP Trade Agreement

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a massive free trade pact between 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It eliminates up to 90 percent of the tariffs on imports between its signatories and establishes common rules for e-commerce, trade, and intellectual property. The Philippine Senate recently ratified the agreement, becoming the last signatory aside from Myanmar. The pact has faced opposition from agricultural groups, who fear it could open the country to a wave of imported produce. The ratification of RCEP is seen as a bold move that could help the Philippines become part of the rapidly rising Asia. While the U.S. sits outside the two major Asia-Pacific trade pacts, economic prosperity remains a core interest for many nations in Southeast Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific, and economic interaction with China remains an important component of the mix. Follow my Facebook group to stay up to date on the latest news from ASEAN and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

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