'Unfortunate, not imminent': Diokno says on European Parliament's call to review PH tariff perks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2020 11:26 AM

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MANILA - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno said Monday the European Parliament's call to review the tariff incentives extended to the Philippines was "unfortunate."

The review, which was called for due to the "deteriorating level of press freedom in the Philippines" and alleged human rights abuses could lead to the suspension of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) extended to the Philippines.

"As an economist, I always say that trade is welfare enhancing, it benefits both parties and so this is so unfortunate. But I don't think the EU parliament has a mandate to take back the GSP privileges," Diokno told ANC. 

Diokno said actions of tariff privileges rests with another European Union body composed of 27 countries.

"I don't think that would be imminent, we have good relations with Germany and UK and France, I think it would take time. I don’t think it's the EU parliament that has anything to say on the GSP," he said.

The European Parliament's threat to suspend the country's GSP+ status will affect up to 20 percent of its exports to EU and could lead to more job loss, according to Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. 

Some groups said it could also worsen poverty while former Commission on Human Rights chief Etta Rosales said the Philippines could suffer from a "big toll" if tariff perks were canceled. 

Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, told the EU Parliament on Friday, to "go ahead" if they want to and add to the suffering of the Filipino people during the pandemic.