EXPORTERS said the Philippines’ trade privileges with the UK are currently underutilized, and urged businesses to tap the opportunities for duty-free export to that market.

After the UK exited the European Union (EU), it implemented its own Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) to mirror the EU’s GSP+ scheme. The UK has said that its own GSP scheme replicates the same level of access as the EU scheme.

The Philippines currently enjoys duty-free entry to the EU for up to 6,274 products under GSP+, which is set to expire at the end of 2023.

“Filipino exporters are encouraged to avail more of the Philippines’ UK GSP beneficiary status. UK government statistics show that the Philippines lags behind other beneficiary countries in GSP imports and utilization rate,” the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) said in a statement Friday.

Philexport said exporters should familiarize themselves with the UK GSP process, including checking whether a product is eligible for the trade perks.

Qualifying for the scheme involves the submission of a statement of origin on a specific UK GSP form, certifying that the products come from an eligible country. The UK does not accept the EU Registered Exporter System statement of origin.

According to Philexport, the UK Department for International Development said that there will be no policy changes to the GSP this year, but potential changes will be announced in the coming months.

The Philippines exported $404 million worth of goods to the UK last year, down 20% and representing 0.6% of total goods exports, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. — Jenina P. Ibañez