PHL seeks way to increase garments exports to EU

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THE Trade department’s export marketing bureau (EMB) wants to request the European Union (EU) to allow the Philippines to export garments that use imported textiles under its preferential trade scheme, EMB Director Senen M. Perlada said.

Under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+), up to 6,274 Philippine products can enjoy zero-tariff entry to the EU as long as the product originates from the Philippines.

Mr. Perlada wants to include in this scheme Philippine garment exports that use materials imported from other GSP+ beneficiary countries.

“Our exporters have difficulty in complying with proof of origin,” Mr. Perlada said in a phone interview on Friday.

“Garments are actually covered (by GSP+), but because we have to import our garment materials, sometimes or most of the time, hindi tayo nakaka-comply sa (we don’t get to comply with) proof of origin requirement.”

He said that the EMB will be requesting the Trade department’s Bureau of International Trade Relations to bring this issue to the attention of the EU.

“We’re planning to bring this to their attention, the possibility for cumulation or derogation to allow the Philippines to import textiles from other GSP eligible countries,” Mr. Perlada said.

A recent GSP+ monitoring report showed that the Philippines slowly increased its use of GSP+ preferences to 26% of its total exports to the EU in 2018.

In comparison, Bangladesh led GSP+ beneficiaries by placing 96.4% of its exports to the EU under GSP+, followed by Cambodia at 94.9%.

The Philippines’ use of GSP+ compared with all eligible exports was 73.1%.

Mr. Perlada said that while this move will not make up for the remaining 26.9% utilization, the “principle” will bode well for other exports.

“That means we can apply it to other products and hopefully beyond garments, there will be others where we will be able to have a better opportunity to meet the rules of origin requirement.”

Mr. Perlada said the EMB, in partnership with the Bureau of Customs, will also be conducting roadshows to Region 3, Region 4A, Cebu, Davao, and General Santos City throughout 2020 to promote self-certification of origin among exporters.

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) in December released guidelines that would simplify export processes to the EU where exporters can certify preferential origin through a Statement of Origin under the Registered Exporter (REX) system.

The REX system replaces the previous system, where the BoC certifies high-value exporters while low-value exporters submit invoice declaration. — Jenina P. Ibañez