Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement is the most important bilateral economic agreement the Philippines has entered into in the last 50 years. It is a bilateral economic relationship and investment agreement between the Philippines and Japan. It aims to develop significant trade and investment opportunities with the world’s second largest economy. It is viewed to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries to facilitate and promote the free trans-border flow of goods, persons, services and capital. JPEPA also aims to provide protection of intellectual property rights, controlling anti-competitive activities, improvement of the business environment as well as cooperation in fields of mutual interest, such as human resource development, financial services, information and communications technology, energy and environment, science and technology, trade and investment promotion, small and medium enterprises, tourism, transportation, and road development.
JPEPA was signed by President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo with then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last September 9, 2006 in Helsinki, Finland. The Philippine government proceeded to sign the JPEPA despite very little public consultation and information. Environmentalists and the rest of the civil society are saying that it has become apparent that the JPEPA is going to be a bad deal for the Philippines. “The JPEPA’s implementation would surrender the economy and its resources to the needs and profits of Japanese corporate monopolies at the expense of Filipinos’ livelihoods, welfare and national patrimony. The ultimate result will be to condemn the Philippines to chronic backwardness and to deny millions of Filipinos decent livelihoods in their own country,” According to Sonny Africa, IBON research head and one of the convenors of No Deal. The administration has likewise attempted to justify its decision to enter into the JPEPA, saying that it will spur economic growth and reduce poverty by bringing in Japanese investments and opening up Japanese markets, as well as our nurses and caregivers. JPEPA has claimed that this will have an immediate positive impact on farmers, fishermen and food processors. The Philippines will be able to export agricultural products and tropical fruits to Japan and close to 95 percent of our exports will enter Japan duty-free. The two countries will remove tariffs on virtually all industrial products in their two-way trade within 10 years. Also, according to the agreement, Japan will accept up to 400 nurses and 600 caregivers from the Philippines within two years. TRADE AGREEMENTS
A legally binding agreement between two or more countries to bring about closer economic integration by eliminating or reducing tariffs and other restrictions on mutual trade and investments. JPEPA signifies a new-age free trade area (FTA) like the ones negotiated by Japan with our neighbors Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. New-age FTAs have been developed in response to the pressures arising from the growing trend in regionalism along with increasing globalization and technological advancement. Building on these trade and investment ties, JPEPA will further bolster the existing close links and deepen cooperation between the two countries. JPEPA rests on three pillars: (i) liberalization, (ii) facilitation, and (iii) cooperation.
They require efforts that go beyond traditional FTAs liberalization of trade in goods and services. They include measures toward the smooth movement of people, capital and information and areas like investment and trade facilitation, as well as cooperation in science and technology (S&T), human resource development (HRD), small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the environment. Through these agreements with other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan is expecting an economic boom and improvement on bilateral and diplomatic relations with other...