Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo recently signed the Philippine application to the European Union (EU) Generalized Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+).
The EU GSP+ is a special incentive for sustainable development and good governance anchored on the effective implementation of 27 international conventions on human and labor rights, and environment and governance principles to which the Philippines is a signatory.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), lead agency for the initiative, has concluded more than a year of preparatory work involving interagency consultations and industry briefings on the requirements and benefits of the scheme. The application is supported by industry groups and associations who would like to take advantage of the GSP+ preferences, particularly the textile, garments and tuna industries.
DTI Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. stated that, “The manufacturing industry roadmap identifies government interventions in assisting the private sector in gaining more access to markets. The sustainability of the tuna and garments sectors will greatly contribute to the revival of the country’s manufacturing industry since these sectors account for more than 50 percent of the country’s industry labor force.”
Initial estimates indicate that the GSP+ could increase Philippine exports to the EU by 611.8 million euros, representing an 11.96-percent expansion over 2012 Philippine exports to the EU. Product sectors with the highest projected increases are animal or vegetable fats and oils; prepared foodstuffs; textiles and garments; footwear, headwear and umbrellas; and chemical products. The projected increase in exports could translate to 267,587 additional jobs both in the agriculture and manufacturing sector.
The Philippine application was submitted to the EU Delegation Office in Manila for subsequent transmittal to director general of Trade of the European Commission. The application will be subjected to review and assessment within a period of 10 months, and includes documentary requirements relative to the country’s ratification of the 27 international conventions and an undertaking to accept regular EU monitoring to ensure implementation of the conventions mentioned.