Synthesis and Recommendation, New Age FTAs: Is the Philippines Mature Enough?
New Age FTAs: Is the Philippines Mature Enough? Synthesis and Recommendation Erlinda M. Medalla Feb. 10, 2011 Dusit Hotel
New Age FTA: Is the Philippines mature enough?Differentiate with: whether forging such FTAswould be beneficial.• Mature enough to study and recognize benefits and costs?• Mature enough to get a good deal? Deal with domestic concerns on the one hand and negotiate wisely with prospective partners?• Mature enough to take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges?
Mature enough to take advantage ofopportunities and overcome challenges?• While important, the first two are not the more critical issues: – Thailand has become a ‘pro’, Indonesian learned quickly, Philippines has learning experience from PJEPA – This workshop is also a good indicator• Third is much more difficult and ambitious. This is the bottom line.
‘New Age FTAs’• Free flow of goods, services and investment. Cooperation elements and capacity building• It’s not just about trade and market access.• Ultimately, it’s about economic reforms: for both or all partners• This is well recognized in the case of Korea: the main objectives of FTAs are: – To secure market access and (2) to enhance transparency and predictability.• This is true as well in the case of Japan- also for domestic reforms.
Impact on Governance• two way: – good governance would help maximize benefits from FTAs – at the same time, FTAs could contribute to good governance (not just because of the need for it , made even more obvious and urgent because of joining an FTA, but because of the development cooperation initiatives ‘new age’ FTAs make possible.• This is especially true for regional FTAs- with added peer pressure to implement reforms. Learn from best practice
Impact on Governance• Examples that this is happening are in the areas discussed in this workshop: customs administration and competition policy• In customs –National Single Window, eventually leading to the ASEAN single window – very much a part of good governance. – The Philippines is hard pressed to make headway in customs reforms.• ASEAN cooperation in competition policy• These are two very difficult areas for reforms• FTAs- Use in conjunction with strategic industrial policy – Not just as defensive mechanism
Concluding Remarks• It is not just about trade and market access. It is also very much about economic reforms and improving governance• Consistency with WTO in the long-run should always be kept in mind.• Managing risks to ensure FTAs become building blocs
Recommendations• Improve intra and intergovernmental coordination mechanisms for coordinated policy decision making process;• Enhance participation of private sector through business advocacy, consultation, observer status in negotiations; and• Networking of negotiators, academe/experts and business/industry sector as well as civil society• Linked with call for increased transparency
Recommendations• Continue domestic reforms – infrastructure and logistics, trade facilitation• Need for capacity building, information and advocacy- – Research – Advocacy– information and education – Negotiating capability—HB 56?