THE expansion of the United Kingdom’s (UK)trade with the Philippines is expected to hinge on the greater use of the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), a duty-free export concession, a trade official with the British Embassy in Manila said.

Lindsey Gilbert-Crouch, the Manila-based country director of the Department for International Trade, said in a keynote speech for UK-Philippines virtual trade mission organized by the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP), that the DCTS, launched on Aug. 16, covers 65 developing countries including the Philippines.

“As of (the 12 months to June) this year, UK-Philippine trade has increased by almost 20% from last year to 1.9 billion pounds sterling. And this is all in spite of the headwinds that the global economy is facing today,” Ms. Gilbert-Crouch said.  

The DCTS, which replaces the UK’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences, will come into force by early 2023.

The new trading scheme allows over 80% of Philippine export goods and 99% of total export goods by value to enter the UK duty-free.

The Philippines is expected to save around 21 million pounds’ worth of tariffs yearly from the DCTS.

Ms. Gilbert-Crouch noted that British meat continues to make inroads into the Philippine market.

“The Philippines is now the UK’s second-biggest pork market outside of Europe,” Ms. Gilbert-Crouch said.

British pork shipped to the Philippines amounted to 24.14 million kilograms, or over 5% of Philippine pork imports as of the end of August, according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

The BCCP conducted the first day of its virtual trade mission on Sept. 15, in partnership with the Kent County Council and nine UK firms in the food and beverage industry.

The second day of the BCCP’s virtual trade mission takes place on Sept. 21.

“The project serves as a way to help small businesses from East Sussex, Kent & Medway, Essex and South Essex to get into overseas markets such as the Philippines. In this way, it helps British businesses unleash their potential particularly with this year’s trade mission in the food and beverage sector,” the BCCP said.  

The British firms participating in the trade mission include Old Dairy Brewery, Must Chup, Maidstone Distillery, Karimix, Personalised Product Consultants/Sugarbranding, Retrocorn, G&I Spirit Group Ltd., Boost Ball, and Barn Farm Drinks.

The goods and services trade between the UK and the Philippines is estimated at 2 billion pounds a year, the British Embassy said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave