Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual said on Wednesday the European Parliament welcomed the proposed extension of the Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP+) trade agreement with the Philippines, which is set to expire by the end of the year.
Under the GSP+, the Philippines has been benefitting from zero tariff on two-thirds of all product categories entering the European Union market since 2014.
“We have exerted all efforts for the continuation of our coverage under the EU GSP+ and the report I got yesterday is that the proposal of the European Commission for the rollover of the existing GSP+ for another four years has been supported by the EU parliament and the European Council,” Pascual said during the Pilipinas Conference 2023 held at The Peninsula Hotel Manila in Makati City.
“That’s good news for us, we have at least four more years. [That is] very important for our tuna exporters and producers of certain manufactured products,” he said.
Earlier this year, the DTI disclosed that the European Commission proposed the extension of the generalized tariff preferences, including the GSP+ for the Philippines until 2027.
Pascual said the EU will need time to reach an agreement as to what will constitute the terms of the new regulation.
“The plan is to really renew it but the renewal sometimes involve(s) changes in the conditions, obligations that they ask countries to meet,” he said.
Pascual said the renewal will greatly benefit Filipino exporters.
“Our tariff for tuna is around 20 to 30 percent. If the GSP+ is not renewed, our exporters of tuna will pay that tariff… so they’ll become uncompetitive from those other sources of tuna going to EU countries,” he said.
Pascual said the DTI will encourage those enjoying the GSP+ to expand their exports to the EU while the preferential tariff is in effect. (PNA)