The recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement last November 15 can make the Philippines an innovation hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
“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,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez.
RCEP covers the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and five trading partners, namely China, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Japan.
DTI 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 its strong research capabilities and a strong intellectual property regime can boost innovation and production activities in the country,” Gepty added.
In recent years, reforms in the Philippines include the passage of important legislation such as the Technology Transfer Act, Philippine Innovation Act, Innovative Startup Act, and Strategic Trade Management Act, among others. A number of 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,” Gepty added.Once in place, RCEP will account for 27.8 percent of the world’s trade valued at $10.5 trillion.
-JONATHAN ARACELI FOR SOVEREIGNPH