MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is optimistic that the country will be included before the end of this year in a trade scheme that allows more goods to enter the European Union (EU) at zero duty.
The country’s inclusion in the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) will allow exporters to enjoy zero duty for 6,274 covered products.
Animal or vegetable fats and oils, prepared foodstuff, textiles and garments, footwear, headwear, umbrellas, and chemical products are among the product sectors that are most likely to benefit from the GSP+ scheme.
Currently, the Philippines is a beneficiary of the EU GSP where 2,442 products from the Philippines are exported to EU states at zero duty while 3,767 are subject to reduced tariffs.
Upon approval of the EU Parliament, the Philippines will be the only GSP+ beneficiary in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The EU Council said that unless the EU Parliament objects, the Philippines’ inclusion in the EU GSP+ may be enforced. To date, the EU Council has not objected yet to the country’s inclusion in GSP+, DTI undersecretary Adrian Cristobal said.
The EU Council is the institution used by ministers from each EU state to adopt laws and coordinate policies. The EU Parliament is the directly-elected parliamentary institution of the union. They both work with the EU Commission, responsible for proposing legislation and implementing decisions by the union.
In February, the Philippines completed its application process to the GSP+ arrangement.
In September, the European Commission favorably endorsed the Philippines’ application for inclusion in the scheme to the EU Parliament and EU Council.
“With this development, our application is now headed to the European Parliament for deliberation. We are optimistic that we will get approval from the EU Parliament before the year ends,” Cristobal said.
Stakeholders are urged to support the country’s strategy to be prepared for the scheme, Cristobal added that they have been conducting a series of briefings with stakeholders in providing them information on GSP+ application, including assistance on non-tariff measures and rules of origin (ROO).
“We need to expand our country’s market access and increase investments to further strengthen the emerging sectors of our industry and generate more job opportunities to benefit especially the rural communities,” Cristobal said. – Rappler.com