By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star), Sep 28, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is seeking the expansion of the General System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) from the European Union (EU) amid concerns the present set of privileges would be removed in protest over the alleged extrajudicial killing cases in the country.
In a presentation at the EU Parliament and meetings with various trade institutions and parliament ministers in Brussels, the Department of Trade and Industry said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and special envoy to the EU Edgardo Angara urged the EU Parliament to further engage the Philippines through the expansion of the GSP+.
“We want to follow through the dialogue on the expansion of the GSP+ and move to a long lasting trade concession via a free trade agreement,” Lopez said.
Lopez said he and Angara assured the parliament and business institutions the Philippines is a strong economic partner and there will be continuing dialogs to ensure they get the real and more objective situation in the country.
“The Philippine delegation also assured the EU that the Philippines continues to adhere to protecting human rights and the President’s zero tolerance for abusive enforcers. There is clear rule of law and strong democracy in the country,” he said.
The Philippines was granted beneficiary country status under the EU-GSP+ in December 2014, allowing it to export 6,274 eligible products duty-free to the EU market.
The alleged cases of extrajudicial killings in the country as part of President Duterte’s drug war, however, has put at risk the country’s GSP+ privileges.
The country’s beneficiary status under the GSP+ necessitates the implementation of the 27 international treaties and conventions on human rights, labor rights, environment and governance.
Results of the latest GSP+ review is expected to come out in January next year.