‘PH exceeded commitments’

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    The Philippines said it has addressed concerns raised by the European Union (EU) on labor rights and environmental protection in the wake of the EU Parliament’s call to suspend the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status on the country.

    Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the ongoing  push to end contractualization; the Joint Department Order of DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment on the guidelines for the issuance, suspension or revocation of certificates of accreditation for garments firms that are availing the GSP preferences; and the closure of Boracay for six months in order to rehabilitate the island are some of the  examples of how “the country has not only remained steadfast in its commitments to the international conventions, but have in fact gone beyond these commitments.

    “While Philippine industries may become less competitive in the short-term, the government hopes to sustain these reforms in the long run,” Lopez said in a statement yesterday.

    Lopez said the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine GSP+ inter-agency team in its fourth technical report to the European Commission on  September 15  provided updates on  the country’s implementation of the 27 international core conventions on human rights, labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance.

    “We are able to explain objectively the Philippines side on issues that are raised and we don’t see any reason why our GSP+ privilege will be withdrawn.

    It is precisely helping address poverty and attendant social and economic issues, and helping MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) in many parts of the country, by allowing greater EU market access for Philippine products,” Lopez said.  (I. Isip)