The European Union (EU), through its Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), has vowed to open up more export opportunities for the Philippines.
Franz Jessen, head of EU delegation in the Philippines, said “GSP+ is offering the Philippines enormous export opportunities by providing preferential access to the EU market.”
Since 1971, the GSP has been helping developing countries like the Philippines generate additional revenue through international trade.
Jessen noted that in 2014, the Philippines exported €1.15 billion under the GSP-scheme.
While the Philippines’ exports to most countries went down in 2015, its exports to the EU grew by over 19 percent during the first nine months compared to the same period in 2014.
In the first six months of 2015, the country’s exports to EU under GSP increased by 27 percent from €584 million to €743 million.
During the said period, the country’s export of footwear products increased by 230 percent, followed by wood and wood charcoal, which registered a 199 percent hike.
Exports of fish and related products also increased by 157 percent, prepared foodstuffs by 72 percent, cereals, flour, nuts, and plastics, 46 percent, chemicals, 42 percent and animal products, 41 percent.
Based on the European Commission’s first GSP Monitoring report, Preferential imports to the EU amount to over €50 billion in 2015.
The Philippines is increasing its share following its successful application and subsequent granting of “GSP+” preferential treatment in December 2014.
The report also assesses implementations and dialogue on 27 international conventions wherein it found out that the Philippines “is making good progress on implementation of Conventions.”
For instance, on human rights, the report noted that while more remains to be done, since 2010 the Philippines has strengthened the country’s human rights legal framework.
As a result, the number of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances substantially declined.
“The launching of a national monitoring mechanism for extra-judicial killings is commended as an important step forward,” the report said.
On labor rights, the report noted that the current administration improved awareness and implementation of labor and employment policies, and worked to ensure compliance with the eight fundamental ILO conventions.
Moreover, Jessen said the Philippines showed constructive engagement during the GSP+ mission last year with open and frank discussions on human and labor rights.
“This is the idea behind GSP+: an open dialogue and engagement on implementing the Conventions that EU and the Philippines ratified. I look forward to working together with the Philippines on these issues as well as other means towards increasing our trade,” he said.