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Does the Philippines Need a Trade Representative Office?


  • Gloria O. Pasadilla



The paper describes the current decision-making structure for trade policy formulation in the Philippines and compares it with the systems in selected countries. It cites difficulties in the current set-up, such as : 1) turf mentality among government agencies that tend to paralyze inter-agency committees in coming up with an overall position that fully acknowledges trade-offs; 2) lack of appreciation of and capacity for trade research that should inform negotiating positions; 3) unclear delineation of authority; 4) lack of suitable mechanisms for consultation and feedback on negotiation progress and impact, not only regarding tariffs but also of other items under discussion. This paper argues that there is need for a single agency that will handle all international trade negotiations, coordinate effectively with other government departments and agencies, and formulate final trade positions for negotiations. It proposes either : 1) the creation of an independent agency for trade negotiation, something akin to the US Trade Representative Office; or, considering fiscal realities in the short-run, 2) at least, the strengthening of the existing Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR) position within the Tariff and Related Matters (TRM) Committee structure. A stronger, centralized body, principally or primarily in charge of trade policy negotiations would be able to curb the turf battles among different agencies, or, at a minimum, prevent them from stalling the realization of trade mandates for negotiators. The paper also stresses the crucial role of trade research in supporting negotiations and suggests ways to strengthen capacity in this area.

Suggested Citation

  • Gloria O. Pasadilla, 2005. "Does the Philippines Need a Trade Representative Office?," Development Economics Working Papers 22677, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:22677

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:fth:michin:399 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. J. M. Finger, 2002. "Institutions and Trade Policy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2720.
    3. Assar Lindbeck, 2001. "Economics in Europe," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(1), pages 31-32, March.
    4. Meunier, Sophie, 2000. "What Single Voice? European Institutions and EU–U.S. Trade Negotiations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(01), pages 103-135, December.
    5. Deardorff, A.V. & Stern, R., 1997. "table of Contents and Introduction to Representation of Constituent Interests in the Design and Implementation of U.S. Trade Policies: The Sweetland Conference," Working Papers 399, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
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    More about this item


    Trade Negotiations; Philippines; Trade Institutions; Trade Capacity Building;

    JEL classification:

    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General


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