Roxas: Let’s stay clear of US-China trade feud
THE PHILIPPINES should not be drawn into the “geopolitical competition” between the United States and China, and think carefully before joining either of the two free trade alliances that the economic giants are pushing in the Asia Pacific, said Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas.
Roxas, who served stints as trade and industry and interior secretaries in different administrations, former Secretary of the Interior, and of Trade and Industry, said the government should weigh the pluses and minuses of joining the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), which China is sponsoring.
“This is part of the geopolitical competition between China and the United States, and we should not be drawn in to such a competition without a clear understanding of how [to protect] our own interests,” Roxas told reporters in an ambush interview.
China and the United States are pushing for rival free trade pacts with the booming economies of the Asia Pacific region.
At the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Asian nations to join the FTAAP, saying that with various new regional free trade arrangements coming up, there is danger of fragmentation, and therefore a need to accelerate the realization of FTAAP and “take regional economic integration forward.”
Twelve Pacific nations reached an agreement last October on the 12-member TPP, which include the US, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.
Roxas said the Philippines’ entry to the TPP or the FTAAP should “not be automatic.”
“We should watch for its possible impact on our agriculture sector. Our agriculture sector is fragmented, while the agriculture sectors of other countries have industrialized farming machinery. Their farmers are large companies. Here, our farmers are ordinary people,” he said.
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