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EU denies hand in Philippine visit of parliamentarians

MANILA, Philippines — The European Union had no involvement in the visit of the seven-member delegation of international parliamentarians that warned of trade consequences if the Philippines fails to uphold the bloc’s human rights standards, the EU Delegation to the Philippines clarified yesterday.

Seven representatives of the International Delegates of the Progressive Alliance visited the Philippines Oct. 8 to 9. They were from Sweden, Germany, Italy, Australia and the United States, and included one German member of the European Parliament.

“It is therefore not correct to label the visit an ‘EU mission’,” the EU Delegation said in a statement.

Philippine Special Envoy to the EU Edgardo Angara  on Tuesday described as a “gross misinterpretation” the warning of visiting members of the delegation that the Philippines could be meted sanctions by the EU over the reported extrajudicial killings in the country.

The group said the Duterte administration should put a stop to the thousands of killings blamed on its continuing war on drugs or the Philippines’ generalized scheme of preferences or GSP Plus status among EU countries might be affected.

The GSP allows vulnerable developing countries to pay lower or no duties on exports to the EU, giving them vital access to the EU market and contributing to their growth.

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With its GSP Plus status, 6,200 products from the Philippines enjoy tax-free entry into the EU.

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