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Business

6 RP products to enter US market duty-free

- Ma. Elisa Osorio  -

MANILA, Philippines - Six Philippine exports will be able to enter the United States duty free after being granted the privilege under the United States Generalized System of Preferences (US GSP), the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced yesterday.

The six products are:

(1) Twine, cordage, rope and cables of abaca or other (leaf) fibers;

(2) Lead-acid storage batteries of a kind used as the primary source of electrical power for electrically powered vehicles;

(3) Nickel-iron storage batteries, of a kind used as the primary source of electrical power for electrically powered vehicles; and

(4) Insulated beverage bag with outer surface textiles, interior only flexible plastic container storing/dispensing beverage thru flexible tubing;

(5) Woven or partly assembled materials of rattan for mats, matting and screens; and (6) Exposure meters.    

Other Philippine products that were eligible for US GSP include measuring instruments, cane or beet sugar, pneumatic tires, tubes or pipe fittings, optical fibers, liquid crystal devices, lasers, optical appliances, lamps and lighting fittings, and parts of tractors, television and radio parts, and basketwork.

Each of these products has registered imports below the minimum or de minimis level of $19 million in 2008. The export value of these six products to the US was $24 million.        

Because of the waiver, the products will enjoy duty-free access to the US market even if they have exceeded the so-called statutory import ceilings set by the US for 2008, in pursuit of the program’s goal to advance economic development of eligible countries.

The Philippines said that the removal of the GSP status and the subsequent payment of the regular import duty would adversely affect competitiveness through an increase in landed cost. The Philippines also wants to avoid job losses in these export-oriented sectors should the US not extend GSP status on these products.

The removal of the GSP benefits would have affected the operations of two major exporters — Manila Cordage Company and the Pacific Cordage, Inc. which have a combined labor force of 579 employees.

It would also have set back East-Cam Tech Corp. operations with a potential labor displacement of 1,101 personnel directly involved in the production, while about 110 personnel at the Pilipinas Batteries, Inc (PBI) manufacturing plant would have been terminated.

The 2008 GSP Annual Review analyzed petitions to withdraw or limit a country’s GSP benefits for not meeting GSP eligibility criteria that include, among others, the extent of a country’s intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, extent of compliance with internationally-recognized worker rights, the country’s level of economic development, ability to provide equitable and reasonable access to US goods and reduce trade distorting investment practices and policies, and efforts to combat terrorism.

ANNUAL REVIEW

EAST-CAM TECH CORP

GSP

MANILA CORDAGE COMPANY AND THE PACIFIC CORDAGE

OTHER PHILIPPINE

PILIPINAS BATTERIES

SIX PHILIPPINE

UNITED STATES

UNITED STATES GENERALIZED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES

UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE

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