MANILA, Feb 26 (Mabuhay) — Philippine exports under the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+) scheme will continue to enter the United Kingdom (UK) tariff-free this year despite Britain’s exit in the trading bloc, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Friday.

This, after the UK replicated the market access and benefits provided by the EU’s GSP+ scheme.

In a statement, the DTI said the Philippines is included in the UK GSP’s Enhanced Framework, the counterpart of EU GSP+.

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

The UK left the EU on January 32, 2020. To transition, the UK and EU agreed on trade and travel rules that would apply on January 1, 2021.

The Philippines is currently one of the beneficiaries of the EU GSP+, providing 0% tariff for more than 6,000 products or two-thirds of its tariff lines.

Zero-tariff products include bananas, tuna, pineapple, and footwear.

Under the UK’s GSP Enhanced Framework, the Philippines still receives zero tariffs on two-thirds of its product lines.

The UK GSP also requires compliance to the same 27 international conventions as the EU GSP+.

To qualify for the UK GSP benefits, exporters need to fill out the GSP Form A and provide a Certificate of Origin.

The DTI noted that the UK does not have an agreement with the EU to redistribute goods between their territories post-Brexit.

Goods simply traveling in between these places should meet the non-manipulation or non-alteration rules set by both territories, it said.

The UK was the Philippines’ 17th trading partner and 18th export market in 2020.

Exports to the UK amounted to around $404 million in 2020, a 20% decrease from around $ 506 million in 2019 amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Top export products to the UK in 2020 were pulp from waste paper, tuna, semiconductors, and integrated circuits. 

The DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), meanwhile, is promoting the following products and services for export to the UK: manufacturing components, apparel, processed and specialty food, and Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM).

“One of the strategies of the DTI-Trade Promotions Group (TPG) is to maximize our free trade and preferential trade agreements. We are ready to assist exporters for a seamless transition to the UK GSP+,” said Macatoman.  (MNS)

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