MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines can start enjoying its European Union (EU) Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status by Dec. 25.
“The publication (of approval of Philippines’ application) on the EU official journal is on the 24th of December. It takes effect one day after the publication,” EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux said in a press conference yesterday.
“This is quite a nice Christmas gift for the Philippines,” he added.
The EU Parliament approved the Philippines’ application to qualify for EU GSP+ status during its plenary meeting on Dec. 18.
By being qualified for the GSP+ scheme, the Philippines can enjoy zero duty for 6,274 products exported to the EU for a period of 10 years.
Before the approval of its application for EU GSP+ status, the Philippines was a beneficiary of the regular GSP program which covers 6,209 products, with 2,442 products subject to zero duty and the rest subject with lower tariffs.
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Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said yesterday the EU GSP+ would allow the country to increase its exports to the EU by 611.8 million euros and create more than 200,000 new jobs in the first three years of implementation of the program.
“It (increase in exports) really depends on how fast we can train people,” he said.
The Philippines’ approved application, he added, also strengthens the country’s aim to become a manufacturing base in Southeast Asia as it is the only country in the region granted the benefits of the GSP+.
“We believe the EU GSP+ is really a game changer. It will strengthen our rehabilitation efforts and inclusive growth agenda,” he said.
To take advantage of the EU GSP+ benefits, instructions have been given to conduct information sessions for the EU GSP+ through the Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA) program of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Trade undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said five information sessions focused on doing business in the EU using GSP+ would be held in January in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, General Santos City and Angeles City in Pampanga.
He said outbound business missions would also be conducted to Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom next year as part of efforts to promote the utilization of the EU GSP+.
“This is just the start. We need to look at EU standards. They are very technical and we have to meet them,” he said.