PH reaping benefits of EU access

October 6, 2015 at 15:00

PH reaping benefits of EU access


By:  | 01:36 AM October 5th, 2015

THE PHILIPPINES has already started to reap significant benefits from its inclusion in the European Union’s (EU) new generalized scheme of preferences (GSP+) as exports to the 28-member bloc have already risen by 23 percent in the first half of the year.

Walter van Hattum, head of the economic and trade section of the EU delegation to the Philippines, said in an interview that the strong growth in the first six months of the year could be seen in a number of sectors, namely vegetable products, foodstuff, optical instruments, chemicals, wood products, footwear and pearls.

It was only in December last year that the Philippines was granted preferential access to the EU market through the reduction of duties to zero on more than 6,200 product lines. The Philippines is the only Southeast Asian country accorded the GSP+ status, which would be in effect over a 10-year period or up to 2024.

To help keep the Philippines, as with other beneficiaries, on track to keeping its commitments under the GSP+, the European Commission recently sent a team to the country to look at the country’s compliance with the 27 core international conventions that earlier served as prerequisites to the country’s inclusion in the preferential trade scheme.

Initial results from the visit were regarded to be positive.

“The Philippines government has put together an effective structure in dealing with the GSP+ commitments under the coordination and leadership of the Department of Trade and Industry with the full support of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Philippines’ authorities ensured a very good cooperation with the visiting GSP+ team from all participating authorities and agencies,” Van Hattum told the Inquirer on Friday.

“The visit showed that the Philippines has taken GSP+ participation seriously, which bodes well for our future relationship,” he added.

According to Van Hattum, a European Commission GSP+ monitoring visit was a standard procedure. The Philippines was informed and had agreed to this when applying for the GSP+ scheme.


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