PH to prove GSP+ benefits in bid for EU trade

The European Parliament.

THE Philippines will submit proofs that local exporters of agricultural products to the European Union are benefitting from the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) in a bid to extend the trade scheme with Europe.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters on Monday that the EU trade commission will review during the last quarter the GSP+ granted to the Philippines to see if it is effective in helping the beneficiary country.

The Philippines has success stories of farmers and fishermen who were able to export their products to the EU market duty free, said Lopez.

The assessment report is expected by January 2018 and will be forwarded to the EU Parliament.

Lopez noted that the report will determine if the EU will continue granting the GSP+ to the Philippines and will also support the country’s push for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the economic bloc.

He said the country’s utilization rate of the GSP+ has been improving since it was granted to the Philippines in 2014.

In 2015, the utilization rate of the EU GSP+ was at 68.3 percent. It increased to 70.87 percent in 2016, according to Lopez.

Lopez said the government has also assured the EU that the Philippines continues to adhere to the 27 international conventions and have been taking actions to preserve labor rights and human rights among others.

The EU requires all the GSP+ beneficiaries to subscribe and adhere to the 27 international conventions to continue benefitting from the program. Kris Crismundo/PNA