THE proposed Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Canada free trade agreement (ACANFTA) holds the potential to broaden Philippine goods’ access to North American markets, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
Trade Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty said at a Tariff Commission virtual public consultation for the ACANFTA on Thursday that the Philippines lacks its own bilateral access to North America.
“Unlike other ASEAN member states who have existing FTAs with North American countries either bilaterally or through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Philippines has none that accords us with preferential treatment. Through ACANFTA, the Philippines will not only access Canadian markets, but also indirectly access lucrative markets of other countries in North America,” Mr. Gepty said.
Mr. Gepty said ACANFTA holds the potential to grow Philippine service exports to Canada, which is a net importer of services from the Philippines.
He said participation in the trade deal will open doors to products like desiccated coconut and processed food, while allowing the Philippines improved access to the fertilizer raw material potassium chloride, of which Canada is a major producer.
“I would say that… if you want to venture into the production of fertilizer, then Canada can be a good source of raw materials. We hope that we can encourage more investment in the production of fertilizer in the country to support our farmers,” Mr. Gepty said.
According to the DTI, Canada is the 18th largest trading partner of the Philippines, with two-way shipments valued at $918.7 million, equivalent to 0.59% of the Philippines’ overall trade.
Philippine exports to Canada in 2020 amounted to $390.4 million, while imports were valued at $528.3 million.
In November, trade ministers of the ASEAN and Canada launched ACANFTA negotiations.
According to a feasibility study from 2018, the Philippines is projected to raise by 2.63% its gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to $7.4 billion, after joining ACANFTA.
The study also projected ASEAN GDP to rise by 1.6% while Canada’s GDP will increase by 0.3% after signing up for ACANFTA. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave