DTI’s Pascual to follow up GSP, free trade pact status in Belgium trip
MANILA, Philippines — Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual will follow up on the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) when he makes the trip to Belgium by the latter part of June.
Pascual said this during the briefing with the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Tuesday, adding that the Philippines is still eligible for the said program.
According to the EU’s website, the GSP is a program where import duties for products coming into the EU scope are removed. This in turn helps developing countries in combating poverty by entertaining products and eventually creating jobs.
“Kasi alam ninyo iyong GSP+ is available to the Philippines now, given that the Philippines is a low-middle income country. Kapag naging upper middle income country ang Pilipinas, hindi na tayo eligible sa GSP+,” Pascual said.
(Because you know, GSP+ is available to the Philippines now, given that the Philippines is a low-middle income country. But if the Philippines becomes an upper middle income country, we would no longer be eligible for the GSP+.)
“So, binanggit na rin sa akin iyan noong mga parliamentarians from EU na bumisita sa opisina ko. Kaya sabi ko nga, so kailangang mag-umpisa na tayong mag-negotiate ng Free Trade Agreement. So , iyon ang usapan and we will see,” he added.
(So, it was also mentioned to me by parliamentarians from EU who visited my office. That’s why I said that we need to start negotiating for the Free Trade Agreement. So, that was discussed and we will see.)
Pascual made the remarks after being asked about updates regarding the GSP and the EU-Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
The Department of Trade and Industry chief also assured the public that the Philippines has the support of European businesses operating in the Philippines.
Just recently, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called for the resumption of the negotiations for a bilateral Philippine-EU Free Trade Agreement during the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) annual general meeting and gala dinner.