PH signs free trade agreement with Asean, Australia, New Zealand

PH signs free trade agreement with Asean, Australia, New Zealand
PCO photo

EXPECTED to provide better opportunity for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Philippines has inked the second protocol to the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made the announcement during the leaders’ plenary at the Asean-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Marcos expressed confidence that the pact will continue to be responsive to the evolving multidimensional challenges in the business environment and complement region-to-region efforts to strengthen supply chain resilience, the expansion of trade and investment, inclusivity and sustainable development.

“The Protocol will indeed benefit micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) inasmuch as it facilitates their participation in international trade by improving their access to markets and participation in the global value chains, as well as promoting the use of e-commerce,” he said.

“With the momentum from the CEO Forum yesterday, and AANZFTA together with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, we are confident that we will usher in even more robust economic cooperation within our region and provide a legal framework for a more prosperous future,” he added.

The AANZFTA is a comprehensive and single-undertaking free trade agreement that uncovers and creates new opportunities for approximately 663 million individuals in Asean, Australia and New Zealand, which has a combined Gross Domestic Product of approximately $4 trillion as of 2016.

It aims for a sustainable economic growth in the region by providing a more liberal, facilitative and transparent market and investment regimes among the twelve signatories to the agreement such which also includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao DPR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Through the AANZFTA, tariffs will be progressively reduced from entry into force of the agreement, and eliminated for at least 90 percent of all tariff lines within specified timelines; movement of goods will be facilitated via a more modern and flexible rules of origin, simplified customs procedures, and more transparent mechanisms; and barriers to trade in services will be progressively liberalized allowing for greater market access to service suppliers in the region.

The movement of business persons, those engaged in trade and investment activities, will be facilitated under the agreement; and covered investments will be accorded a range of protection, including the possibility of dealing with disputes via an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism.

Meanwhile, Marcos welcomed Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, an elaborate plan aiming to broaden and deepen the economic ties between Asean and Australia.

He said the Philippines is looking forward to expanding the collaboration on agriculture and food security, digital economy, infrastructure, tourism and healthcare, which are key to achieving a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure future for Filipinos and Asean citizens.

“Through these 50 years, Australia has proven, time and again, its support for Asean as it continues its positive role in ensuring peace and stability in our region and our immediate neighborhood, now referred to as the Indo-Pacific,” said Marcos.

“In Asean, Australia has consistently supported all Asean-led mechanisms through these 50 years. We appreciate the evolution of Australia’s strategic approach towards the region from the mere confines of the Asia-Pacific to our now wider common interests in the Indo-Pacific,” he added.

He encouraged Australia to continue its active engagement both bilaterally and through Asean to ensure the primacy of peace and stability through confidence building, preventive diplomacy, and conflict resolution in the region.

The chief executive also highlighted the country’s efforts in taking “bold and decisive actions” both domestically and in the international fora for climate change as it remains vulnerable to the harsh effects of climate change.

Marcos reiterated the offer to host the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund for climate change noting that it would showcase its global commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that the voices and experiences of the most affected countries are heard and considered in shaping the most urgent of global climate policies.

“In the Philippines, we have taken concrete actions by implementing policies and initiatives to reduce emissions by catalyzing investments in our rich sources of renewable energy,” he said. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.