CONCERNED that the country would no longer benefit from the European Union’s duty free privileges due to alleged extrajudicial killings, the Philippines recently lobbied for an expansion of the Generalized Preferences Scheme Plus (GSP+).
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in a statement released Tuesday, said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and special envoy to the EU Edgardo Angara presented to the EU Parliament in Brussels its proposal to further engage the Philippines in the form of an expanded GSP+.
Assuring the EU Parliament of the country’s strong economic fundamentals, Lopez also expressed his support for the ongoing negotiation for a free trade agreement between the EU and the Philippines.
“The Philippine delegation also assured the EU that the Philippines continues to adhere to protecting human rights and the President’s zero tolerance for abusive enforcers. There is clear rule of law and strong democracy in the country,” said Lopez.
Since December 2014, Philippine exports have enjoyed duty free entry for over 6,000 products to EU under the with the GSP+. In exchange, the country has signed 27 international treaties and conventions on human rights, labor rights, environment and good governance.
However, alleged human rights abuses under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs have placed the status of the GSP+ privileges in peril.
EU is the fourth largest export market of the Philippines, with over six billion euros worth of exports and 36 percent growth in the first two quarters of 2017. (JOG)
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2017.
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