RCEP-enabled imports being monitored for possible impact on domestic producers

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is watching out for a possible surge in imports enabled by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal.

“One way to monitor it is the certificate of origin issued by the Bureau of Customs. Because when you get a certificate of origin, that’s (an indicator that the exporters) availed of the free trade agreement benefit,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual told reporters late Monday.

He added that the DTI’s Import Surge Monitoring System will watch for possible threats to specific Philippine industries, adding that the steel, cement, wood, and ceramics industries have shown interest in the monitoring system.

He said Philippine manufacturers are on the lookout for possible cases of dumping.

“The system is ongoing… (we) are continuing (the) process of monitoring import volumes and prices,” he added.

The DTI’s monitoring system was launched last year as an early warning system to help the Philippines prepare to seek remedies against the sudden and sharp increase in imports.

“We are still in the process of gathering the needed information on how much RCEP has contributed to exports,” he said.

RCEP is a free trade deal involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia. It took effect in June last year.

RCEP allows minimal to zero restrictions in terms of quantities, tariffs and seeks to minimize import taxes. — Adrian H. Halili