DTI working to expand list of US GSP-covered items


THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) wants to expand the list of products that receive preferential trade treatment with the United States.

“[We] are currently working to push for more products to be included in the talks for the US GSP [Generalized System of Preferences],” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in an event on Tuesday.

“These add to the value of making the Philippines as a manufacturing location for…products,” he said.

Currently under the process of renewal, the GSP deal is a unilateral preferential trade arrangement by the US to 122 beneficiary developing countries and least developed beneficiary countries, including the Philippines. It aims to promote economic growth, development and trade by providing duty-free market access to about 5,000 products into the US.

Recently, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said that DTI hopes for the renewal of the US GSP next year. The program expired last December 31, 2020.

In addition, the trade official said they will be meeting with the US Trade Representatives to raise the concerns about the pending free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Rodolfo said the Philippines would like to secure “industrial cooperation” with the US to encourage more foreign investments, especially those relating to supply chains that are “critical” to the Western country.

Meanwhile, Lopez reiterated the DTI’s call for the immediate ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

“RCEP will likewise encourage closer integration of economies and provide a more stable and predictable rules-based system of trade,” the DTI chief said. “Currently, the RCEP is in Senate for concurrence as we expect it to be passed by the end of the year.”

The trade deal is set to enter into force by January next year after meeting the minimum number of ratification by signatories. As of writing, the Asean Secretariat said that Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have sent their Instrument of Ratification/Acceptance (IOR/A).

The Philippines, along with Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia and South Korea, have yet to submit their IOR/A.

The RCEP region accounts for 29 percent or $25.8 trillion of the global gross domestic product, 30 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent ($12.7 trillion) of global trade in goods and services.

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