EU urges PH to take advantage of free tariff

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    The European Union (EU) urged the Philippine to take advantage of the preferential tariff it gives to its exports saying the GSP Plus remains underutilized since the successful application of the Philippines to the scheme in 2014

    In his message at the Euro-PH Business Summit on Friday, Rafael de Bustamante, first counselor of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, said the EU will continue to work with the Philippines “for the correct implementation of GSP Plus for the years to come, especially in the respect of human rights conventions subscribed by the Philippines. “

    The European Parliament earlier issued a resolution calling for the withdrawal of the country’s GSP Plus preferences over the alleged “seriousness of the human rights violations.”

    Every year about 2 billion euros worth of Filipino products – with a strong performance for agriculture products – enter the EU duty- free under the GSP Plus. This is about a fourth of the Philippines’ total exports to the EU.

    But Bustamante said “much can still be done.”

    Bustamante said the EU GSP Plus provides an entry point for Filipino products to the EU market to have a stronger foothold in the global value chain.

    “Being the only country in Southeast Asia that enjoys this EU trade preference, this is an opportunity for the Philippines to make more business with Europe,” said Bustamante.

    Among the beneficiaries, the Philippines is the second biggest user of GSP Plus preferences after Pakistan.

    Under the EU GSP Plus, some 6,274 types of goods enter the EU market at zero tariff.

    In the EU GSP Plus report for 2018-2019 published early this year, the country’s utilization rate of the preferential trade arrangement is at 73.1 percent in 2018.

    The top GSP Plus exports of the Philippines for 2019 included: crude coconut oil, vacuum cleaners, prepared or preserved tunas, spectacle lenses, new pneumatic tires, bicycles, electro-thermic hair dressing apparatus, prepared or preserved pineapples, relays, and activated carbon. — Irma Isip