PH 5th top duty-free  beneficiary of US


    The Philippines is missing out on its duty-free privileges to the United States as the renewal of the latter’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) remains uncertain.

    The 2021 Trade Policy Agenda and 2020 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program cited the Philippines as the fifth largest user of the GSP privileges last year after Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil and Cambodia.

    The report did not provide a figure but 2019 Philippine GSP exports to the US totaled $1.6 billion. Top exports under these trade privileges include coconut oil, pineapples, crab meat, although an estimated $654 million worth of exports that could have been duty-free did not avail of the privilege.

    In 2020, the US received $16.8-billion worth of GSP imports from 119 designated countries.

    The GSP scheme expired last Dec. 31, 2020.

    Meanwhile, the report also cited the Philippines as one of the countries which has shown significant progress on intellectual property rights protection.

    The Philippines has stayed off the Special 301 piracy watchlist for the past seven years.

    The US Trade Representative said it also engaged the Philippines under its bilateral trade and investment framework agreements (TIFA) in 2020.

    The US and the Philippines meet regularly with the Philippines under TIFA to address outstanding bilateral issues and coordinate on bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues.

    US goods and services trade with Philippines totaled an estimated $30.6 billion in 2019 (exports were $12.1 billion; imports were $18.5 billion), making the Philippines the US’ 31st largest goods trading partner. – Irma Isip