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With less than two years after its ratification, many of the economic gains expected under JPEPA have yet to be realized. But while critics may be quick to judge its failure due to this seeming lack of progress, neither have there been costs and dislocations that should have been more immediately evident. Moreover, the recent trends in trade and investments appear encouraging. Nonetheless, the implementation of JPEPA is wrought with challenges particularly those that involve undertaking internal reforms needed to realize its rich potential and achieve the vision upon which it was established. Being the first bilateral free trade agreement entered into by the Philippines, the performance of and experience with JPEPA are crucial in determining the prospects for negotiated trade agreements with the country.
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