EU seen to extend GSP+ rules on PHL—Pascual


RECOGNIZING the government’s efforts to address human rights violations concerns, the European Union (EU) is expected to soon extend the country’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) by another four years.

“They just have very specific concerns that we were able to address and they were happy about it,” DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday.

“They have seen progress. It’s not as if nothing has happened to address the issues that they are concerned with,” he added.

Some European Union lawmakers expressed deep concern on the casualties of the government’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs, which led to the death of at least 6,000 people.

Pascual made the pronouncement after he announced last week that the European Commission is now inclined to extend the validity of the existing GSP Regulation until December 31,  2027.

“Based on our discussion and also confirmed by their published action, there is a joint committee within the EU that proposed the rollover of the existing GSP+ for another four years—that means rollover or under existing conditions, so there will be no additional obligation,” Pascual said.

The GSP+, which imposes zero tariff on most of the product categories entering the European Union, is set to expire by the end of the year.  The EU has granted the GSP+ to Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

“There is pressure for them [when it comes to the extension] since it can leave their partner countries, which are exporting products to them, hanging if they will do nothing,” Pascual said.

He said they hope the European Parliament will decide on the matter before they go on their summer break, which runs from July 25 to August 21.