MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI ) has started to assist local businesses and government agencies in hurdling the various non-tariff barriers they may face in tapping the benefits provided under the European Union’s new generalized system of preferences (GSP+).
In a statement the DTI said it held a briefing for stakeholders in Zamboanga on how local firms could export to any of the 28 member countries of the European Union (EU) duty-free.
“As tariffs go down, we need to work more closely with Philippine businesses to help them navigate the rules of origin requirements and hurdle other barriers, for instance product standards. We should also be able to build capacity for our micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) so that they can export, and for our exporters to achieve the quality needed in the EU market,” explained Trade Assistant Secretary Ceferino Rodolfo.
“The Zamboanga Peninsula hopes to be a key player in taking advantage of the EU market access. At zero tariff, this can translate to more opportunities for jobs and investments in the region, not only for the marine and coco products, but also other products such as rubber. In fact, we are now working with the rubber industry in the region to improve the quality of our rubber,” added Sitti Amina M. Jain, officer in charge of the Zamboanga office of the DTI.
It was only in December last year when the Philippines was granted a GSP+ status by the European Union.
Under this preferential tariff scheme, Philippine producers and manufacturers can now export more than 6,000 products to the 28-member bloc at zero tariff, provided they meet the stringent application requirements set by the EU.
Among the products that have duty-free access to the EU are coconut and marine products, processed fruit, prepared food, animal and vegetable fats and oils, textiles, garments, headwear, footwear, furniture, umbrellas and chemicals.
According to the DTI, Philippine exports to Europe are expected to increase by 611 million euros in the first three years of the implementation of the EU-GSP+. The product sectors expected to have the highest gains are animal and vegetable oils and fats, prepared foodstuffs, textiles and garments, footwear, headwear and umbrellas, and chemical products.
“The projected increase in export in the next three years will translate to more than 200,000 new jobs, in both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, particularly in the rural areas where these are needed most,” Rodolfo added.
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