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PH is ideal innovation hub in RCEP region – Trade Chief

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

With the recent signing of the largest free trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, last November 15,  2020, the Philippines is set to carve a niche in the Asia-Pacific region as an ideal innovation hub, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez.

“While the RCEP Agreement will broaden and deepen the Philippines’ economic engagements with its trading partners, it will also complement ongoing initiatives and reforms to make the country a manufacturing and investment hub in the region,” Sec. Lopez said.

Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty, the country’s lead trade negotiator, explained that under the RCEP agreement, parties will have access not only to a huge market but also to major sources of raw materials for the production of key products ranging from conventional to more intelligent products.

“With this trend, the Philippines’ edge in manufacturing of electronic products coupled with several strong research capabilities and a strong intellectual property regime can boost innovation and production activities in the country,” Asec. Gepty added.

In recent years, various reforms in the Philippines include the passage of important legislations that would support the business such as the Technology Transfer Act, Philippine Innovation Act, Innovative Startup Act, and Strategic Trade Management Act, among others. Several Innovation Technology and Support Offices and regional innovation centers across the country have also been established, making it an ideal place to generate ideas and new products.

“Given the Philippines’ legal and institutional strength in these key areas complemented by its young and dynamic workforce, and the stability and predictability that RCEP offers, investors should now consider the country as the new innovation and manufacturing hub in the region,” Asec. Gepty added.

Once in place, RCEP will account for 27.8% of the world’s trade valued at USD10.5 trillion and 23.6% of global inward FDI and 33.5% of global outward FDI. The RCEP Participating countries accounted for 60.6% of total Philippine merchandise trade and 11.4% of inward FDI in 2019.

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