'No reason' for EU to withdraw tariff perks, says Trade chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2020 11:13 AM

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MANILA - There is "no reason" for the European Union to revoke tariff incentives awarded to the Philippines since there is an effective monitoring in place to ensure compliance, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday. 

The EU Parliament earlier called for a review of the perks extended to the Philippines, citing alleged human rights abuses and a "deteriorating level of press freedom" which could lead to a suspension of the perks.

"There is no reason for them to withdraw the GSP+ [Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus]. Right now we have a good system, the EU Commission is the one that grants the GSP+ privilege, it’s not the EU Parliament," Lopez told ANC.

The Philippines must comply with mandated labor rights, human rights, good governance and environmental concerns to enjoy the perks.

Lopez said the Philippines has been "fairing well" in reviews and that "we've been able to explain all issues raised every year. 

The EU Parliament has passed a similar resolution for a 3rd or 4th time, he said, which every year the Philippines was able to explain.

"So we should be addressing the same as well in this right process of monitoring. They conduct monitoring visits and we do accept their visit and answer all their questions," Lopez said.

Lopez said current Philippine exports to EU is about 7.3 billion euros, 2.7 billion of which are eligible for GSP+.