Philippine Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri is confident that the Senate will be able to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement within the first quarter, saying it is their priority. Zubiri said the Senate, through the Committee on Foreign Relations, is holding a hearing on the RCEP which will be attended by stakeholders. The Department of Trade and Industry had been pressing the Senate to ratify the RCEP before end-March, saying the Philippines is missing out on the trade deal’s benefits. Zubiri said the Philippines is the only non-signatory to this economic partnership. He warned that failure to ratify the deal will affect trade with other countries. The previous Senate did not give its concurrence due to concerns over the free trade deal’s impact on the agriculture sector.
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