Philippine exports can still enter the United Kingdom tariff-free this year despite the latter’s recent exit from the European Union (EU), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reassured on Friday.
In a statement, the Trade department’s Trade Promotions Group (TPG) and Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) said the UK had its own Generalized Scheme of Preference (GSP) that replicates the market access and benefits provided under the EU GSP Plus.
“The Philippines is included in the UK GSP’s Enhanced Framework, the counterpart of EU GSP+,” it said, adding that under the framework, two-thirds of the country’s product lines will have no tariff.
These lines number 6,274. These include some fish, dairy, fruits, vegetables, coconut oil, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, chemicals, fertilizers, essential oils, soaps, articles of plastics and rubber, articles of wood and leather, apparel, footwear and headgears, ceramic products, glass and glassware, pearls, fine and costume jewelry, furniture, auto and aero parts, ships and boats, electronics and semiconductors, and watches.
The UK GSP also requires compliance with the same 27 international conventions as the EU GSP+. To qualify for the former’s benefits, exporters need to fill out the GSP Form A and provide a certificate of origin.
“The UK does not have an agreement with the EU to redistribute goods between their territories, post-Brexit. Goods simply traveling in between these places should meet the non-manipulation or non-alteration rules set by both territories,” the DTI-TPG-EMB said.
The UK was the Philippines’ 17th trading partner and 18th export market in 2020. Exports to that country amounted to about $404 million last year, a 20-percent drop from about $506 million in 2019. Top export products in 2020 were pulp from waste paper, tuna, semiconductors and integrated circuits.
“The Philippines considers the United Kingdom as one of its major trading partners. We appreciate the inclusion of our country in the UK GSP and we are looking forward to resuming trade under this system,” Trade Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman was quoted as saying in the statement.
The DTI-TPG-EMB said it was also promoting products and services for export to the UK, such as manufacturing components, apparel, processed and specialty food, and information technology and business process management.
“One of the strategies of the [TPG] is to maximize our free trade and preferential trade agreements. We are ready to assist exporters for a seamless transition to the UK GSP+,” Macatoman said.