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EU GSP+ renewal pitched as also beneficial to foreign investors

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said foreign investors also stand to benefit from the renewal of Philippine privileges under the European Union’s (EU) Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

“This preferential scheme benefited not just local industries but even foreign investors doing business in the country. This scheme helped us in transforming lives and communities in the Philippines consistent with our efforts to promote socio-economic development,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a statement.

Mr. Pascual met with members of the European Parliament Sub-Committee on Human Rights on Feb. 22 to discuss GSP+ and a potential free trade agreement.

The EU makes GSP+ preferences and trade relations subject to Philippine adherence to a number of international conventions on human rights, labor rights, environmental protection, and illegal fishing, among others.

Philippine participation in the GSP+ scheme is set to expire at the end of the year.

According to Mr. Pascual, 26% of Philippine exports to Europe were admitted under the terms of the GSP+, calling the preferences vital to the economic relations of the Philippines and EU. The Philippines is the sole country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region that benefits from GSP+.

GSP+ offers zero tariffs on 6,274 products, equivalent to 66% of all EU tariff lines.

“For 2021, total exports to the EU amounted to 7.77 billion euros. In terms of eligible exports, 2.68 billion euros worth of Philippine exports are covered by GSP+, of which 2.03 billion euros availed of GSP+ preferences (or 26% of PH’s total exports),” the DTI said.

“GSP+ utilization grew by 7 percentage points from 68.3% in 2015 to an all-time high of 76% in 2021,” it added.

Top GSP+ exports are crude coconut oil, vacuum cleaners, hairdressing equipment, prepared/preserved tuna, eyeglass lenses, lead-acid accumulators, electric hair dryers, and new pneumatic tires. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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