DTI: PH exports to remain tariff-free with UK's own trade preference program post-Brexit

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 26) — Philippine exports under the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) will continue enjoying zero tariffs upon entry to the United Kingdom even after its exit from the trading bloc, the Trade Department confirmed Friday.

In a statement, the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau said the Philippines is also covered by the UK’s own GSP Enhanced Framework, the counterpart of EU GSP+ which adopts the same market access and benefits it provides.

This means Manila will keep receiving zero tariffs on two-thirds of its product lines, which include footwear and food items like bananas, tuna, and pineapple.

“The Philippines considers the United Kingdom as one of its major trading partners,” said Trade Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman. “We appreciate the inclusion of our country in the UK GSP and we are looking forward to resuming trade under this system.”

The UK left the EU in end-January 2020, with both entities agreeing that new trade and travel rules shall take effect January this year.

Exporters must fill out a GSP Form A and submit a Certificate of Origin to qualify for UK GSP benefits, added the DTI.

The United Kingdom was 17th among the Philippines’ top trading partners, while it ranked 18th among its export markets last year.

Manila’s exports to London reached $404 million in 2020, down 20% from the year prior with coronavirus pandemic crippling trade chains across the world. Semiconductors and integrated circuits topped Philippine export products to the UK along with pulp from waste paper and tuna.

The EU in September pushed for trade sanctions against the Philippines over its "rapidly deteriorating human rights" situation. The union's parliament adopted a resolution seeking to commence the procedure for the temporary withdrawal of the GSP+ granted to the country.

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