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Arroyo submits RP-Japan pact to Senate

Arroyo submits RP-Japan pact to Senate

MANILA -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday transmitted to the Senate the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) for ratification.

Arroyo and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi signed the pact on the sidelights of the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Helsinki, Finland on September 9, 2006.

Arroyo, in a letter to the Senate, recommended the ratification of the four-inch-thick document, with the concurrence of the trade, planning, labor, budget and justice departments and the Bureau of Customs, Intellectual Property Office, and the Tariff Commission.

In her transmittal letter, the President said under the pact, both countries would eliminate tariffs on almost all industrial goods within 10 years from the date the Jpepa takes effect.

"The Jpepa envisages that almost 95 percent of Philippine exports to Japan will face zero duties beginning day one resulting in immediate positive impact on farmers, fishermen, and food processors and bringing immediate and long-term benefits for industries," she said.

She said the pact enhances Philippine service providers' access to the Japanese market and "guarantees non-discriminatory treatment, with limited exceptions."

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