Senator Win Gatchalian welcomed the proposed renewal of the Philippines’ participation in the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), saying such development is expected to boost the competitiveness of the country’s exports and increase investment prospects.
“We are elated to find out that the European Commission has proposed to renew the country’s participation in the GSP+ scheme as this would surely provide a wider market for our exports and consequently greater employment opportunities for our people,” said Gatchalian, who was part of the Philippine Congressional Delegation who visited the European Parliament in October 2022 to discuss with their counterparts the status of the GSP+, among other things. He commended the work undertaken by Senator Sonny Angara for leading the delegation.
“I am hopeful that the members of the EU Parliament were able to appreciate our discussions and initiatives towards building strong partnership between the Philippines and the EU and will vote favorably for the European Commission’s proposed renewal of the grant of EU GSP+ privileges to the Philippines,” he stipulated.
As proposed by the EC, the country’s participation in the GSP+ scheme will be allowed for another 4 years or until December 2027 as soon as it expires by the end of this year.
A special incentive arrangement for low and lower-middle-income countries, the GSP+ is a unilateral trade arrangement offering zero tariffs on 6,274 products or 66% of all EU tariff lines. Following its initial participation in 2014, the country’s export revenues grew to EUR 7.7 billion in 2021 from EUR 5.7 billion in 2014.
PH exports to the 27 European Union countries (EU27) increased from US$ 6.4 billion in 2020 to US$ 8.6 billion in 2021, attributing to the surge in the exports of crude coconut oil, skipjack tuna, semiconductor devices, and digital monolithic integrated circuits, among other products.
Gatchalian further expressed confidence that the renewal of the Philippines’ participation in the GSP+ scheme would further improve the country’s investment relations with EU member economies. In 2021, the EU27 was the Philippines’ 5th largest trading partner, 6th biggest export market, and the 6th biggest import source.
A considerable source of investments to the country, the EU has contributed around US$ 2 billion in investments from 2017 to the first half of 2022, with an average percentage share of around 10% of the total approved foreign investments in the country. Major contributors include The Netherlands, with a contribution of US$ 1.6 billion, followed by France with US$ 130 million, and Germany with US$ 130 million.