THE trade department’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) hopes to promote food exports to the UK following its exit from the European Union (EU).

“I’m sure they are more than willing — if not, they’re going to be very eager — to dance with us separately from the EU,” EMB Director Senen M. Perlada said in a phone interview Friday.

He said the focus is products from Philippine companies that have certifications from the British Retail Consortium (BRC),which he describes as a “stringent, Rolls Royce-quality certification.”

The BRC sets quality standards for food safety, packaging, consumer products, and storage.

Mr. Perlada said the EMB will be promoting “supermarket items” including processed food and beverages, canned tuna products, snack food, noodles, biscuits, craft gourmet chocolate, and dried fruit and nuts.

He added that the EMB will also be promoting tropical fruit by-products like coconut water, virgin coconut oil, and MCT oil, as well as sugar, sauces, and condiments, among others.

MCT oil is derived from coconut, and its medium-chain triglycerides are thought to provide health benefits.

The UK is retaining a preferential trade scheme with the Philippines that mirrors the latter’s EU privileges after Britain concludes its transition from the EU on Dec. 31, 2020. Under the General Scheme of Preferences plus (GSP+), the Philippines enjoys zero tariffs on up to 6,274 Philippine products exported to the EU.

UK trade envoy to the Philippines Richard Graham told reporters last week that the UK may review opportunities to expand GSP+ in the future, but will maintain the current scheme in the meantime.

Mr. Perlada said the Philippines has not yet proposed changes to the current arrangements with the UK.

“In general, I think the attitude of the UK is to have it business as usual without introducing any drastic changes,” he said. — Jenina P. Ibañez