MANILA, Philippines — Sectors such as electronic equipment, apparel, machinery and metals are expected to benefit from the country’s participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR) said in a social media post a virtual dialog was recently conducted on the study that looked into the potential economic impact of the country’s accession to the CPTPP, a free trade agreement (FTA) covering  Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Caesar Cororaton, senior research fellow at the Global Issues Initiative Institute for Society, Culture and Environment of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and author of the study, said that trade liberalization in the CPTPP would benefit the Philippines.

In particular, accession would support the growth in strategic sectors such as electronic equipment (semiconductor), wearing apparel, machinery and equipment, and metals,” the DTI said.

On labor intensive sectors, positive effects are seen in non-staple or non-traditional food sectors like vegetables, fruits and nuts and service sectors.

Overall, the DTI said accession to the CPTPP is expected to lead to higher gross domestic growth, lower commodity prices, higher household income, positive exports, higher welfare, and lower poverty.

DTI Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty said the findings of the study showed that the Philippines’ accession to the CPTPP would provide benefits  from the trade creation effects to the economy.

Beyond market access, he said FTAs are good platforms for bringing in reforms and promoting stability in the business environment.

“It is true that when we pursue any FTA engagement, we gain market access for our exports, both goods and services.  But equally important to this is that we gain additional competitive sources for our own goods and services which would have been diverted to our trading partners for our non-participation in the FTA,” Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said.

DTI BITR director Angelo Salvador Benedictos said the BITR is preparing to commission a study with the UP Law Center Institute for International Legal Studies to assess the gap between the Philippines’ current legal regime and the provisions of the CPTPP.

In February last year, the Philippines expressed interest to join the CPTPP through a letter from Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez to New Zealand.

CPTPP is a high standard free trade agreement covering market access commitments in trade in goods, services, investments, labor mobility, government procurement, protection of the environment and labor rights, intellectual property and inclusive trade.