Philippines wants to keep EU trade perks: trade chief

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2017 11:18 AM | Updated as of May 18 2017 12:06 PM

MANILA - The Philippines wants to maintain its trade arrangements with the European Union, even as Manila decided to refuse aid from the bloc, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Thursday.

Under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+), the Philippines can export to EU member states without duties or at reduced tariffs.

"No we don’t want the current GSP to be affected. It’s not a grant and they are commercial transactions that can mutually benefit both sides. EU should continue to engage the country,” Lopez said in a text message.

“GSP provides better market access to our exporters but it allows cheaper Philippine products for EU consumers or cheaper inputs for their manufacturers. EU investors in the country that exports back to EU also benefit from the GSP. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement."

The GSP+ is based on the Philippines' compliance with international agreements, including those on human rights. A monitoring team from the EU was in the country recently for an assessment.

The Philippines was given preferential status under the European Union-GSP+ in December 2014, allowing the duty-free export of some 6,000 eligible products to the EU market.

In the first six months of 2015, Philippine exports to the EU under GSP+ increased by 27 percent, to 743 million euros (P41.32 billion) from 584 million euros.