EU urges Philippines to better utilise GSP+ benefits

February 07, 2019 - Philippines

European Union (EU) ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen recently urged the country’s exporters to utilise better the benefits of the generalized scheme of preferences plus (GSP+) as exports from there to Europe are almost at the same level as before and are not rising. The country should focus on raising agricultural exports to EU and their quality, he said.

Citing data from Eurostat, Jessen said Philippine exports to the EU from January to November last year grew a meagre 2 per cent to €7.2 billion, an estimated 25 per cent of which were goods covered under GSP+.

Agricultural exports to Europe in the 11-month period fell 10 per cent, while electronic and semiconductor parts remain the country’s top products to the EU, a newspaper reported quoting the ambassador.

Exporters are in a perfect position to increase receipts to Europe, the EU diplomat argued, as the Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia with GSP+ status.

The GSP+ is a trade privilege that allows the entry of 6,274 Philippine products to EU economies at zero duty.

In January last year, about P120 billion worth of exports benefited from GSP+, mostly in the food and agricultural sectors, Jessen said.

The annual review of the GSP+, which will indicate how the Philippines fared in complying with its commitments, will be issued soon, he said. In the previous appraisal, good progress was observed in the environmental and labour rights issues, the envoy added. (DS)