Philippines seeks to become only ASEAN country with no tariffs in EU-bound exports
Mary Joy Villarey (The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2014 - 12:55pm

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The Philippines is seeking to become the only country from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enjoy zero duties for export products under the European Union’s (EU) General System of Preferences (GSP) +.

Julian Conthe, EU Policy Coordinator for Philippines, Singapore and ASEAN told Philstar.com that "The GSP+ is not a negotiation, it's a unilateral process so there's a regulation. If the country, in this case, the Philippines, meets the criteria which is basically the number of economic criteria and the ratification of some conventions on human rights, the Philippines can apply and it will generally be granted the GSP+."

The country’s application is still being deliberated within the EU Parliament but a decision is expected before the end of this year.

Currently, Philippines is a beneficiary of EU's GSP, where 23 percent of all Philippines exports are duty-free while some enjoy reduced tariff.

With the new GSP+ scheme, Philippine export products to EU can enjoy tariff cuts down to 0 percent, expected to greatly benefit the country’s rural industries such as fisheries and farming, and create millions of additional jobs. The country's  GSP utilization rate has greatly improved from 60 percent in 2010 to 67 percent in 2012.

In a published EU-Philippines Trade and Investment Factfile in 2013, the Philippines’s main GSP exports to EU in 2012 was coconut oil (25 percent), food products (14 percent), electrical and electronic products (11 percent), steel products (4 percent) and transport equipment (4 percent).

In order to be approved, EU requires the implementation of 27 core international conventions on human rights, labor rights, the environment and good governance.

 

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS COUNTRY EUROPEAN UNION GENERAL SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES GSP JULIAN CONTHE PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES TRADE AND INVESTMENT FACTFILE PHILSTAR POLICY COORDINATOR
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