MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly pushed back against the European Union, as he defended his war on drugs from international criticism.
The EU is reviewing the Philippines' inclusion in its GSP+ scheme, which grants zero tariffs to select exports, with results expected by early next year.
On Wednesday, the President again lashed out at the EU after it said in its 2016 Human Rights Report that the rights situation had "considerably worsened" due to the war on drugs.
"It appalls me to learn that they can be so stupid about it, almost an ignoramus. Is it not enough to put them on notice that there’s something terribly wrong here?" Duterte said.
The President's special envoy to the EU, former senator Edgardo Angara, said it was unlikely that the Philippines would lose its GSP+ privilege, as long as some concerns are addressed.
"That’s what I’m most fearful about. It’s possible, but not probable if we can do some quick remedial actions," Angara told ANC's Headstart.
Aside from trade, the EU is also a major source of aid, having contributed to relief from Super Typhoon Yolanda, one of the deadliest and most powerful storms in history.
Here are key facts on the Philippines' economic relationship with the EU:
- The EU is the world's second largest economy, worth $16.4 trillion. It accounts for roughly a fifth of the world's gross domestic product.
- The Philippines is among 9 countries under the GSP+, which removes customs tariffs on 66 percent of exportable goods to the EU. The other qualified territories are Cape Verde, Armenia, Kyrgyztan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Paraguay.
- The EU said inclusion in the scheme helps developing nations "manage" responsibilities under 27 international agreements on human and labor rights, environmental protection and good governance.
- In 2016, the EU accounted for 9.7 percent of total trade, which includes both imports and exports, with the total bill at $13.713 billion according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
- The EU said it is the single largest foreign investor in the Philippines, with 1.1 billion euros (P61.8 billion) in reported investments in 2016 or 28 percent of the annual total.
- Nearly half or 44 percent of Philippine exports to the EU are composed of electrical machinery, the EU said.
- Germany is the Philippines top EU-member trading partner, accounting for a third of total trade with the bloc last year, the PSA said.
- The Philippines' top export products to the EU are electronics, which accounted for $3.742 billion of the total in 2016, followed by machinery and transport equipment, crude and refined coconut oil and chemicals, according to the PSA.
- European airplane-maker Airbus manufactures some parts in the Philippines
- The top Philippine exports to the EU that are covered by the GSP+ include agri-oil products, electrical machinery, processed meat and fish, optical products and processed vegetables, fruits and nuts, the bloc said.
- The Philippines can export 6,274 products to the EU under GSP+ since its inclusion in the scheme in 2014, according to the EU.
- Manila has increasingly availed of the GSP+ with the utilization rate up to 71 percent last year from 67 percent in 2014, the EU said.
- Philippine exports to the EU rose 27 percent the year after it qualified for the GSP+, resulting to 200,000 new jobs, according to the EU, citing government data.
- Some 807,000 Filipinos are in the EU as permanent migrants, accounting for 16 percent of the total Filipino expatriate population, according to the EU.
- As of the second half of 2017, the NEDA's official development assistance pipeline listed $6.06 billion in loans and $380.37 million in grants.
- Austria offered a $205.73-million loan for the construction of 35 steel bridges across the country
- The French Development Agency offered $228 million in loans for poverty reduction and watershed management in Mindanao.
- The French government offered $24.72 million in grants for climate resilience, disaster response, coastal protection and renewable energy for Butuan City.
- The German government offered $25.56 million in loans and $1.7 million to build infrastructure that will help spur small and medium entrepreneurship.
- Germany's Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development offered $8 million in grants for land use planning and assistance to those displaced by conflict.