Toxic Trade News / 4 December 2008
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SC asked to void RP-Japan trade pact
by Tetch Torres, (Philippines)

4 December 2008 (Manila, Philippines) – A multi-sectoral group has asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), which the Senate has recently ratified.

The 60-page petition also asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the enforcement of the JPEPA.

The petitioners include Fair Trade Alliance (Fair Trade), the labor group Automotive Industry Workers' Alliance (AIWA), former senator Jovito Salonga and former vice president Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tanada III, Del de Guzman, Alfonso Umali, and Carlos Padilla.

They said the JPEPA "is unconstitutional and detrimental to the interest of the country and the Filipino citizens as the same failed to provide a balanced and mutually beneficial bilateral trade and economic framework."

They also asked the high court to cancel the trade pact’s ratification, claiming the Senate gravely abused its discretion when it ratified the JPEPA despite what they called its Constitutional deficiencies, particularly the principle of "reciprocity" in trade and economic relations.

"According to our Constitution, as interpreted by our Supreme Court, a trade arrangement must have a balance of, or reciprocity, in concessions. However, in JPEPA, we got very little while Japan got everything it set out to achieve," the petitioners said.

Critics of the JPEPA say the treaty would lead to a lopsided flow of goods, persons, services, and capital between the two countries.

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