Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the country renewed its petition to the US during his meeting with Deputy US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Holleyman II at the recently concluded 13th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Laos. STAR/File photo
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has urged the US anew to include travel goods on the list of duty-free products under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the country renewed its petition to the US during his meeting with Deputy US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Holleyman II at the recently concluded 13th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Laos.
“On our end, we’ve re-presented the request and the justifications on the travel goods. We requested for the inclusion of travel goods on the US GSP and we have a request to reconsider. It is moving already. It’s in the process, up for consideration,” Lopez said.
The Philippines was unable to secure the US government’s nod to include locally manufactured travel goods in the GSP program – a preferential tariff system given by the US to its trade partners – on its annual review released last June.
The country’s earlier petition which the USTR deferred seeks to include travel goods such as luggage, handbags, pocket goods, backpacks, sports and travel bags.
“The only concern why it was excluded is that they are saying that the Philippines is not a least developed economy. But for us, we’re saying we are still developing and we need support and this (travel goods) is an industry that is exporting $600 million and employing 70,000 people. Those are our justifications,” Lopez said.
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“So we’re hoping and we’re optimistic. Based on the talks, positive in the sense that they’re open to reconsider but of course we can’t say he’s giving an indication that it will be granted,” he added.
The US GSP seeks to promote economic growth and development in developing countries through preferential and duty-free entry to the US market of products from 122 designated beneficiary countries and territories, including the Philippines.
It covers a total of 5,000 products or about 47 percent of the 10,600 total US tariff lines.