MAKATI CITY—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual positively welcomes the upcoming implementation of the United Kingdom’s new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) this year. The DCTS targets to lower or remove tariffs on additional 156 products for developing countries, including the Philippines, in addition to more than 6,000 tariff lines covered by the EU-GSP+. This extended coverage will include agricultural products such as tomatoes, olive oil, pet food, milk and cream, yogurt, cheese, flour, grains, and starch.

“We have been working closely with the UK Government for the past years to ensure that not only do we maintain the same level of access to the UK market, similar to the EU GSP+ but to also pose improvements through simpler rules and procedures, including the Rules of Origin,” Secretary Pascual said.

Further, the Philippine government is actively working on fostering collaborations and meaningful partnerships to maximize the utilization and promote the new DCTS. To date, the country is awaiting the UK’s full regulation for the implementation of the DCTS, which will set out the complete details on the final product coverage, rules of origin, eligibility criteria, and monitoring procedures, among others.

The UK was the 3rd destination market of PH exports under the EU-GSP+ in 2019 with a notably high utilization rate of 75%. With this, Secretary Pascual added that, “The DTI continues to accord high importance to this new DCTS, as we see this as a development tool that will assist us in building back better and in bolstering trade and investment relations with the UK.”

In 2021, the UK was the Philippines’ 21st trading partner and 4th source of approved improvements. The Philippines’ exports to the UK also increased by 15% from USD414 million in 2020 to USD475 million in 2021.

“With our increasing engagements with the UK and across different fora, including the Philippines’ country coordinator role for the ASEAN-UK relations, we foresee these figures to further improve and even surpass previous data reflecting our export performance,” Secretary Pascual further emphasized.

The promotion efforts being done by the government, such as the country’s investment campaign ‘Make It Happen in the Philippines’ launched in partnership with the UK Government’s Investment Promotion Programme is also expected to bolster the country’s economic recovery and expansion.

Secretary Pascual likewise expressed his gratitude toward the UK Government, in particular the British Embassy in Manila and the Department for Business and Trade, for the partnership and collaborative effort achieved through the Philippines – UK Economic Dialogue.

Established in 2019 ahead of Brexit, the Economic Dialogue enables the Philippines and the UK to continuously engage, as the latter implements its own trade regime outside the EU. Up to this date, three Economic Dialogues were already convened, in March 2019, August 2020, and February 2022. Following this, the 4th Economic Dialogue will be held this year and will be attended by representatives from both the Philippines and the UK government. *

Date of release: 12 April 2023