RP Opts for Minimum Trade Liberalization Compliance

Article excerpt

Byline: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has informed legislators that the Philippines will opt for minimum compliance to the liberalization programs of the past administrations hinting that the Arroyo administration is set to protect domestic industries from foreign competition as long as it can.

Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II said this during a meeting with members of the House of Representatives special committee on globalization, which was held after complaints that DTI has not made transparent the country's negotiating posture in the World Trade Organization, which 5th Ministerial Meeting is scheduled in Cancun in September this year.

During the meeting, Roxas told the legislators that the country's posture in Cancun would likely be aligned with President Arroyo's support for integration but because of domestic concerns "will opt for minimum compliance to the liberalization programs of the past administrations."

So far, the government was able to slowdown the earlier committed tariff cuts for tuna, cement, sugar, petrochemicals, garments, automotive and electronics which Roxas said was a concrete government effort to enhance global competitiveness.

"The Philippines should not be afraid to say no to unbridled liberalization but be ready to say yes to the legitimate challenge of international competitiveness," he told the legislators. …