• Tariff-free EU to boost unique PH products


    The Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) are encouraging Philippine companies involved in the supply chain of more than 6,000 export products to take advantage of priority and tariff-free access tariff to the world’s largest foreign market.

    “This special opportunity to market to the European market will bring huge and direct benefits to Philippine companies, particularly small and medium enterprises involved in numerous commodities such as processed and preserved fruits, juices, vegetable oils and fats, textiles, and footwear” said Ambassador Alfredo Yao, president of PCCI, the country’s largest business organization.

    In December 2014, the Philippines became a beneficiary of the EU GSP+ with special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance. The scheme accords beneficiary countries zero-tariff for ten years for their exports.

    “Tariff-free access enhances the competitiveness of our farmers, processors and manufacturers that form part of the supply chain for the European market,” Yao said.

    The special incentive arrangement offered by the EU will be discussed at a forum on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at the New World Hotel Makati from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. Held in partnership with the EU Delegation, the forum is the venue for stakeholders to learn the features of the “EU-GSP+ and Geographical Indications: Leveraging on GIs to Access the EU Market.”

    Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the European Delegation and Yao will welcome stakeholders at the forum. Keynoting the forum is Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

    Geographical Indications
    The forum will discuss the value-added features of the GSP+ Scheme and address the importance of Geographical Indications (GIs). GI is a distinctive mark used to identify a product originating from a geographical indication, with the product’s characteristics and reputation inherent to its place of origin. GIs is classified as a type of intellectual property, similar to trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Darjeeling Tea, Roquefort Cheese, and Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee are known GIs in the world.

    “Geographical Indications are invaluable. They not only promote the good itself or its geographical origin, but most importantly, the culture it represents, the traditional know-how that goes with it, and ultimately, its unparalleled quality. There are numerous potential GIs in the Philippines such as the Bicol Pili Nut, Guimaras Mangoes, and the Cotabato T’Nalak Weaving,” PCCI Intellectual Property Chair Jesus B. Varela said.

    “It is important that we understand and appreciate what GIs are, and put in place a mechanism that will protect and develop these homegrown gems,” Varela added.

    The forum on the EU GSP+ Scheme and GIs will also discuss the mechanisms of the GSP+ and the commercial applicability of GIs in commodities and brands.


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