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MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomed another milestone for Philippines (PH) and European Union (EU) trade relations as export products hit a 31% growth wherein EUR 2 billion-worth of PH products were exported through EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

“We are pleased to hear of the significant increase of our exports entering the EU market through the GSP+. This trade preference has benefitted several communities in the Philippines and opened opportunities for our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME). In the same manner, it has allowed our MSMEs to be more competitive in the local and foreign market,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

The 31% of total PH merchandise exports to the EU amounted to USD 8.4 billion in 2017. This made the EU the third largest export partner of PH.

In the EU Trade Preferences Monitoring Report released on 19 January 2018, the robust trade relations between the two parties was highlighted with EUR 2 billion-worth of PH exports in 2017 benefitting from the GSP+ compared to the EUR 1.66 billion in 2016.

A major increase was in food and agriculture exports such as animal products, fish and related products, prepared food, and edible fruits. Likewise, automotive parts, leather, textile, and footwear showed significant growth.

Since the beginning of the preferential treatment in 2014, both PH and EU have enjoyed the mutual benefits of GSP+ by letting Filipino MSMEs participate in a bigger value chain and giving the EU market more options for their consumers.

Local communities can take advantage of the export opportunities under the GSP+, like fishermen in General Santos and coconut farmers in Lanao del Norte, as their products can join those by other MSMEs in contributing to EU’s dynamic market.

“We acknowledge that the GSP+ has been an important tool in making the country’s economic growth more inclusive. It also encourages investors to come in and provide job opportunities to many Filipinos,” Sec. Lopez said.♦

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