UK awaits PH nod on preferential trade scheme
MANILA -The United Kingdom is waiting for the Philippines to accept the offer to be part of its preferential trading scheme for developing countries that will be launched in June.
Richard Graham, UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations told this to reporters during a media roundtable discussion at the British Ambassador’s residence in Makati last week.
“The new Developing Country Tariff Scheme, (the) DCTS, which will go live this summer, is designed to try and reduce the costs of Philippines’ export by about – and this won’t be precise – by about 10 percent,” said Graham.
“We’re hoping that that over the countries we are making this available to would reduce import tariffs roughly by 20 million pounds,” he added.
The British trade official added that it would also remove trade tariffs for 150 Philippine products, as well as simplify some seasonal tariffs applied to exports from the Southeast Asian country.
DCTS is the UK’s version of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP Plus) offered by the European Union (EU), which it used to be part of before exiting in 2020.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippines had 2.03 billion pounds ($2.21 billion) worth of exports under the EU’s GSP Plus scheme as of 2021.
Major exports under this scheme include crude coconut oil, as well as prepared or preserved tuna and pineapple. Vacuum cleaners, spectacle lenses, new pneumatic tires of rubber, relays for voltage, bicycles and other cycles, footwear and industrial fatty alcohol are also covered.
Graham also said that there would be no periodic renewal of the Philippines’ eligibility in the DCTS, unlike in the EU’s GSP Plus.
The Philippines’ eligibility to the EU’s GSP Plus has yet to be renewed beyond 2023 amid concerns on extrajudicial killings during the term of former President Duterte.
Earlier in April, EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore said the EU’s GSP+ would soon impose a “higher bar” with “greater scrutiny” for human rights standards that beneficiary countries must comply with.