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The Foreign Trade Service Officers successfully conducted their regional planning consecutively held from 03-13 December 2018 to discuss and review strategies in promoting Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) goes Global program for overseas Filipinos, Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP), and the country’s Investment Priorities Plan to improve the Philippines’ trade relations and increase investments for the year 2019 onward, among others.

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Date of Release: December 2018

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.♦

By Jose Antonio Buencamino / Commercial Counselor, Philippine Trade and Investment Center-(PTIC)-Brussels & Jeoffrey Houvenaeghel / Trade Assistant, PTIC-Brussels

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Sec.Ramon Lopez at EU Parliament
Secretary Ramon M. Lopez speaks at the European Union (EU) Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

Brussels - Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and Special Envoy to the European Union (EU) and former Senate President Edgardo Angara urged the EU Parliament to further engage the Philippines (PH) through the expansion of the General System of Preferences plus (GSP+) in a presentation at the EU Parliament and meetings with various trade institutions and parliament ministers.

“We want to follow thru the dialogue on the expansion of the GSP+ and move to a long lasting trade concession via a Free Trade Agreement,” Secretary Lopez said.

The trade chief highlighted the good economic relationship between the PH and EU, and the need to continue the mutually beneficial trade concession. EU is the 4th largest export market of PH, with over 6 billion Euros worth of exports and 36% growth in the first two quarters of 2017.

In the meeting, Secretary Lopez and Special Envoy Angara assured the parliament and business institutions that Philippines is a strong economic partner and there will be a continuing dialogue to ensure that they get the real and more objective situation in the country.

PH is their ally in the ASEAN region and is a gateway through its FTAs with ASEAN and other Asian partners such as Japan, China, and Korea.

The special trade preference will benefit many Philippine product exporters, particularly those for processed foods such as canned tuna and sardines. This would help the farmers and fisherfolks especially in the Mindanao region. GSP+ gives zero tariff to 6,247 product lines entering the EU market.

EU ministers laud the invitation extended by the Philippines to the EU Council President Donald Dusk, who also confirmed his attendance in the forthcoming ASEAN Summit in November. This is seen as a good sign in the improving Philippines-EU relationship.

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.

The meetings highlighted also the President's role in championing the concerns of the poor and oppressed, thus the Philippine delegation cited many programs such as on drug rehabilitation, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development, social development, universal healthcare, free education and free irrigation.

EU appreciated the high level representation towards a closer dialogue to address ongoing concerns. Real facts and numbers are presented and views directly from the administration. Closer dialogue will strengthen further the trade and investment ties between the two economies.

By Jose Antonio Buencamino / Foreign Trade Service Corps / Department of Trade and Industry

THE European Union (EU) is the largest single market and trader in the world. It is a €12.6-trillion economy, larger than the United States (€11.5 trillion), China (€4.6 trillion) and Japan (€4.2 trillion) in 2015.  Its strong market position is achieved by its 28 member-states acting as a single voice on the global stage, resulting in a position where the EU currently... Read more

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