A PROPOSED law tackling the creation of a government agency which will separately cover international trade relations is set to be discussed this week at the Philippine Senate. On Tuesday, Senate Bills 1084, 1149, and 1404 filed by Senators Teofisto D. Guingona III, Antonio F. Trillanes IV, and Jose E. Estrada last year, will be deliberated on the floor as all three proposed laws seek to establish a Philippine Trade Representative Office. Once created, the government body will be in charge of all foreign trade policies. In the proposed bills, which are all pending at the committee level at the Senate, lawmakers underscored the need for such an entity to promote coherence and cohesiveness in its trade strategies with foreign players. Similar proposals have been filed at the House of Representatives under House Bills 1690 and 2770, none of which have made it past the committee level. In a study published in 2005, Government think tank Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) recommended the need for a single agency which will handle all international trade negotiations and formulate final trade positions for negotiations. Citing the United States Representative Office as an example, the PIDS paper said that creating the agency will eliminate "turf mentality” among different government line agencies as well as "lengthy” processes on arriving at a final decision on trade issues. For its part, the Department of Trade and Industry has continuously voiced opposition for a similar move at the House of Representatives, citing its reservations to the transfer of these function from them to the proposed government entity.//

Main Menu

Secondary Menu