Japan’s refusal to commit itself to a “side deal” on the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) should be enough reason for senators to reject the controversial trade deal, according to independent think-tank IBON Foundation.

Japan reportedly just wants a “general statement” of assurance that the JPEPA will not violate existing constitutional constraints and international law commitments. But if the JPEPA is passed by the Senate in exchange for such an assurance, it would commit the Philippines to forever forego vital policy tools such as trade barriers and policy controls. Japan itself used these protectionist policies to develop its economy in the past, but would deny the Philippines the use of these tools in the future.

Further, ratification of the JPEPA would also mark the start of an era of defeatist economic policy-setting in the Philippines, as the country would be forced include in future free trade agreements concessions that it had given to Japan.

But even if Japan had agreed to the side deal, the JPEPA remains inherently an unfair trade agreement that is biased against the Philippines’ economic interests. If senators are genuinely concerned about the country’s economic welfare, they should reject the JPEPA. (end)

IBON is one of the convenors of No Deal! Movement Against Unequal Economic Agreements


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