Philippines, Japan Slated to Resume PJEPA Review Negotiations in Feb

Manila Bulletin, January 27, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Philippines, Japan Slated to Resume PJEPA Review Negotiations in Feb


MANILA, Philippines - Philippines and Japan are set to resume talks next month on the general review of their bilateral agreement next month after Japan had moved for the postponement of their negotiations scheduled in December last year.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo told reporters at the launch of the Philippine Business Registry but refused to give the details of the talks. It was Japan who called for the postponement in December of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

The delay, however, in the negotiations for the general review of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA) are going to benefit both sides, which are both seeking conflicting positions on this comprehensive trade pact.

Officials said that Japan has requested for further liberalization that would mean further deepening of the existing tariff reduction schedule provided under the bilateral trade deal.

On the other hand, the Philippines would move for an upward adjustment in tariff rates or at least a stay in the existing tariff reduction schedule.

"Japan has requested for a postponement, but it is good for us (Philippines) because Japan has moved for more liberalization and further tariff cuts," an official said.

Entry of Japanese products has been steadily rising under the PJEPA, but export of Philippine products has been sluggish.

Japan is seeking for further cuts in tariffs of medium-sized vehicles while the Philipines would like to delay auto tariff reduction. As one of its requests, the Philippines would surely push for the liberalization in the hiring of Filipino caregivers.

Already, negotiations for the general review of the PJEPA have been moved to January next year.

Lead trade negotiator Trade and Industry undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. said both countries have agreed to re-schedule the 4th Meeting of the PJEPA Joint Committee, which will discuss, among other issues, the general review of the trade agreement.

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