The Philippines: A Swordsman in A Gunfight

Published: 2021-06-29 07:00:02
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The Philippines: A Swordsman in a GunfightIntroductionAfter World War II, there was a dire need to reestablish and rebuild. Believing that trade is a key tool in rebuilding nations, a hundred and fifty-three (153) nations, countries, and territories  signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947. The purpose of the GATT is to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers substantially, elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis. On January 1, 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) came to be. It is the organization that implements the agreements, provides a forum for negotiating additional reductions of trade barriers, sets policy disputes, and enforces trade rules. The World Trade Organization (WTO)   Secretariat's Trade and Environment Report released on 14 October 1999 argues that international economic integration and growth reinforce the need for sound environmental policies at the national and international level.         So, if all this trade liberalization, tariff reduction, trade restriction stuff is said to be good, what is it that is in store for the Philippines? How will it affect the Filipinos on a micro scale?This paper aims to study the effects of trade liberalization in the in the Philippines from the post-WWII period up to the present International Trade and the World Trade OrganizationThe WTO implements agreements, provides forums for negotiating additional reductions of trade barriers and for settling policy disputes, and enforces trade rules. It is the only international organization dealing with global rules of trade between nations. It functions to ensure trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible. In other words, the end goal is trade liberalization. Consumers and producers can then enjoy a greater variety of goods and services. Firms are also assured that foreign markets will always be open to them. This results to a “more prosperous, peaceful, and accountable economic world.” (wto.org). In essence, trade is a good thing. According to the Standard Theory of International Trade, nations can specialize on making the goods they produce more efficiently and least costly compared to other countries. If each country were to specialize on producing more of a good, then these nations can enjoy a larger amount of goods, beyond of what they can produce alone – if they were to not trade. Thus, the international exchange of goods and services benefit the welfare of all (?). Not necessarily. The proposal behind this is discussed on the next part.Neo-colonialism and U.S. Trade Agreement on Post-WWII PhilippinesThe inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines on November 5, 1935 was what the Filipino people thought as their independence. The Philippine economy was still highly dependent on the U.S. And on 1946, the Philippine Trade Act, more commonly known as the Bell Trade Act, mandated that free trade is to be persistent until 1954.The Bell Trade Act included controversial provisions that tied the Philippine economy to the United States. These are: (1)  the amendment of the Philippine constitution to give U.S. citizens parity with native Filipinos in the right to own public utilities and corporations engage in natural resource exploitation until July 3, 1974; (2) that there is to be unlimited free trade for eight more years, after which time and for the next twenty years a gradually increasing tariff would be applied until 1974 when there would be full tariffs; (3) that the PH peso to the U.S. dollar exchange rate is fixed to 2:1; and (4) that the Philippines should not export its products that might come into substantial competition with U.S. goods.

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