Former socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia. File Photo

Agri sector needs to shape up – Pernia

THE agricultural sector must shape up with the country’s integration to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to be more competitive, former socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

During the 2023 economic outlook forum on Thursday, Pernia asserted that the agricultural sector must not be threatened by the increase of imports caused by RCEP. Instead, it must shape up with the recent events and be more competitive.

“Market competition is also a discipline. If you want to compete with others, then you just have [to] shape up and be more attractive to buyers,” he said.

Pernia asserted that “we should be participating in RCEP because we [will] open our borders to other countries, most especially the participants in the RCEP regions.”

“It would be easier for us to import and import [because] prices will be lower than what we have been paying for,” he added.

Several agriculture groups consider RCEP to be a “threat” to local industry as it may produce extreme competition between imports and agricultural production. Pernia explained that “there can be some mitigation for their hardships that they are experiencing by balancing pros and cons.”

According to the Philippine Ports Authority, exports declined by 11 percent and imports grew by 3 percent.

“Import just enough or what is needed. Let’s say for a month or so, so that we can give some space for our local producers to compete also,” Pernia explained.

Moreover, he added that “the government that is importing needs also to be cautious about over importing because importing a lot would also really hurt several [local] producers.”

Since 2017, Pernia asserted that RCEP will lead to facilitating more exchange of goods and services, to attract investments, create more jobs and improve standard of living.

He added back then that “for the region, this means a chance to double intra-Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) trade by 2025. For the Philippines, this means strengthened economic ties with our neighbors and a chance to deepen our partnerships.”

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes