Group warns JPEPA will kill manufacturing sector

Ibon Foundation Inc said the implementation of the JPEPA, and the free trade pacts that will inevitably follow in its wake, “would end any chance of improving the local manufacturing sector and will permanently reduce it to being a mere assembler of imported inputs for re-export.”

“This trend is already evident in recent export figures from the National Statistics Office, which showed that industries which use imported raw materials or assembled parts, have overtaken those sourcing chiefly domestic raw materials,” the group said.

It noted that the long-term liberalization of the economy has further weakened the country’s manufacturing base.

”The trade liberalization brought by the JPEPA would further worsen the already dire situation of the country’s manufacturing sector,” Ibon research head Sonny Africa warned.

The “national treatment” and “most-favored-nation (MFN)” provisions in the free trade pact would prevent the country from imposing policies to help local manufacturers, such as restrictions on imported products and local content requirements, he added.

Africa said Japan is using the JPEPA to promote the interests of its transnational corporations and those of their local partners.

“Japanese companies already dominate many of the sectors in the local electronics manufacturing export industry, with its three biggest electronic firms accounting for over 53% of total gross revenues in the computer manufacturing sector as of 2006,” the statement said.

Various groups are also opposing JPEPA on the ground that it will reportedly allow Japan to import its toxic wastes to the Philippines. (MindaNews)