The Philippines in the WTO
The Philippines has been a WTO Member since 1 January 1995 and a Member of the GATT since 27 December 1979.The Philippines is a signatory to the following subsequent WTO covered agreements:
I. Multilateral Agreements
- 2005 Protocol Amending the TRIPS Agreement
WTO Members on 6 December 2005 approved changes to the WTO’s intellectual property (TRIPS) agreement in order to make permanent a decision on patents and public health originally adopted in 2003. This was formally built into the TRIPS Agreement after acceptance of the Protocol amending the TRIPS Agreement by two thirds of the WTO’s Members. The amendment took effect on 23 January 2017 and replaced the 2003 waiver for Members who have accepted the amendment.The Philippines accepted the Protocol on 30 March 2007.
- 2014 Protocol concerning the Trade Facilitation Agreement
On 27 November 2014, the GC adopted the Protocol of Amendment to insert the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement into Annex 1A of the WTO Agreement (“the Protocol”), and opened it for acceptance by Members. According to the WTO Agreement, a Member formally accepts the Protocol by depositing an “Instrument of Acceptance” for the Protocol with the WTO.As stipulated in the Protocol, it shall enter into force in accordance with Article X:3 of the WTO Agreement. Namely, the Protocol shall take effect upon acceptance by two thirds of the Members for the Members that have accepted the Protocol; thereafter, the Protocol shall take effect for each other Member upon acceptance by it.The Philippines accepted the Protocol on 27 October 2016.
II. Plurilateral Agreement
- Information Technology Agreement
The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was concluded by 29 participants at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996. Since then, the number of participants has grown to 82, representing about 97 per cent of world trade in IT products. The participants are committed to completely eliminating tariffs on IT products covered by the Agreement. At the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, over 50 members concluded the expansion of the Agreement, which now covers an additional 201 products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year.The Philippines, as an active Member of the WTO, ensures that its stakeholders are consulted through the WTO National Advocacy and Consultations Programme. Furthermore, the country has been actively supporting an advocacy on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) with the vision to enable MSMEs to be active players in the global market via continuing discussions on the role and importance of the MSMEs in the economic environment.The Philippines is of the view that the WTO given its multilateral nature offers the widest possibility for stronger sets of alternatives to fully address trade issues while factoring in capacity constraints brought about by differences in the levels of economic development among its Members. Thus, the country, together with the other developing countries, is committed to the preservation of the DDA mandates and to eventually complete an ambitious and balanced agenda with the economic development of its Members being made central. This necessarily includes keeping the principle of the single undertaking intact.
Important WTO Documents