The Philippines increased its exports to the European Union (EU) by 27 percent in the first six months of 2015 by utilizing the EU Generalized System of Preferences Plus (EU-GSP+).
The EU-GSP+ allows exporters from developing economies to pay either less or zero duties on shipments to the EU. The Philippines got a preferred-country status in December 2014.
In the first six months of 2015, Philippine exports under the EU-GSP+ amounted to €743 million, up 27 percent from €584 million a year earlier via the regular EU-GSP, according to the first EU-GSP+ monitoring report by the European Commission (EC).
“The country’s beneficiary status under the EU-GSP+ is a result of what was a fruitful collaboration among the government, private and labor sectors, and industries. We urge local businesses to continue expanding their market presence and establish a stronger foothold in the EU market,” said Trade and Industry Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr.
Through the EU-GSP+, the Philippines can export 6,274 eligible products duty-free to the EU market.
Under the regular EU-GSP, only 2,442 Philippine products were able to enter the EU duty-free and 3,767 products were given lower tariffs.
Since the country became a part of the EU-GSP scheme, the DTI said it has staged 180 consultations and information sessions on “Doing Business with the European Union using the GSP+.” These were held in Cebu, Davao, General Santos City, and Angeles City or the major sources of Philippine exports.
According to EU report, the Philippines has made good progress on implementing the commitments under the EU-GSP+. The country ratified and implemented 27 international treaties and conventions on human rights, labor rights, environment and governance.
These were the requirements for the Philippines to fully take advantage of the tariff scheme.
Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said the EU-GSP+ is enabling the Philippines to sustain and nurture its trade and investment ties with the Eurozone.
“While we are making headway in our commitments under the GSP+, we will continue to build competitiveness locally while encouraging foreign companies to invest or consider investing in the Philippines,” Rodolfo said.
He said “competitiveness builds confidence and the capacity to innovate, pursue leads, seal deals, and deliver.”
The DTI said it has been working hand-and-hand with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to improve the working conditions in the tuna industry and facilitating the accreditation of garment manufacturers for their products to get preferential treatment from the EU.
The EU is the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner, third largest source of imports, and fourth biggest export market.
Under the EU-GSP+, the Philippines ships crude coconut oil, canned tuna, pneumatic tires, spectacle lenses, relays, preserved fruits, board and similar cabinets for electric control or the distribution of electricity, and ballasts for electric lamps.