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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, the world's largest trade and investment agreement, took effect on January 1, 2022, for the majority of its signatories. However, the ratification process in the Philippines faced delays, primarily due to concerns raised by agricultural groups regarding commitments related to agricultural tariff liberalization. This policy brief aims to provide an overview of the RCEP Agreement's key features, examine the projected gains and concerns associated with it, and address the challenges that may hinder the Philippines from fully capitalizing on its potential benefits. An analysis of the Agreement's provisions highlights simplified rules of origin and harmonized trade procedures as its main advantages. Furthermore, a review of the Philippines' tariff commitments under RCEP reveals that while 33 agricultural tariff lines will be liberalized, sensitive agricultural products such as rice, corn, and sugar will retain their current applicable tariffs. To fully harness the advantages of the trade deal, the Philippines must intensify government efforts to enhance agricultural productivity, improve overall competitiveness, and maximize the utilization of free trade agreements. By doing so, the country can unlock the potential gains offered by the RCEP Agreement and foster sustainable economic growth.


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