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Business

APEC member economies urged to ratify TPP

Kathleen A. Martin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Business leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have asked their governments to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement so countries may now focus on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) would be writing to leaders of economies included in the TPP and also to APEC member economies to hasten the ratification of the TPP in order for this to come into force.

The TPP aims to reduce tariffs and cost of trade, and also to set new standards for global trade while addressing “next-generation” issues. Current negotiators of the agreement include Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, United States, and Vietnam.

The Philippines has earlier said it has signified interest to join the trade agreement as its consultations and talks with the TPP member countries continue.

“The negotiations on the TPP have been concluded but the agreement still needs to be ratified by all the member governments,” Rod Eddington, chair of the regional economic integration working group at ABAC, said during a briefing yesterday.

“One of the reasons the ABAC group drafted and will write to all the leaders in the TPP and in fact, all leaders in APEC, encouraging them to move as quickly as they can for ratification of TPP is that the reality of these sorts of agreement is until the TPP is ratified and comes into force, governments won’t turn their attention to FTAAP,” Eddington, who is also the chairman for Australia and New Zealand at JP Morgan, stressed.

The FTAAP, discussed by the APEC as early as 2006, creates a free trade zone aimed at further ramping up trade activities and boosting economies in the process.

Eddington pointed out that until the TPP is ratified, he does not see APEC member economies making “a real headway” on FTAAP discussions.

“FTAAP is the big prize not only for APEC but for the member countries in APEC that promote free trade and are not part of TPP,” Eddington noted.

But Anthony John Nowell, co-chair of ABAC’s sustainable development working group, pointed out the group is not specifically pushing for TPP.

“TPP is just one of the building blocks we believe are important to achieve a free trade area in Asia Pacific,” Nowell, who is also the founding director of Valadenz Limited, said.

“But ultimately, what the business community is looking for is a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific,” Nowell said, adding these kinds of trade agreements are in line with the region’s goal of having free and open trade.

ACIRC

APEC

ASIA PACIFIC

ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL

BUT ANTHONY JOHN NOWELL

EDDINGTON

FREE TRADE AREA OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC

TPP

TRADE

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