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DTI head is optimistic about the GSP+ renewal

Following a recent discussion with EU legislators, Alfredo Pascual, secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is enthusiastic about the potential renewal of the Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP+) trade agreement with the European Union (EU).

In a Wednesday discussion with journalists, Pascual stated that the conference was “extremely constructive” and that among the subjects covered were the nation’s commitments in relation to labor, human rights, the environment, and governance.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the official opening of Mega Prime Foods Inc.’s (MPFI) state-of-the-art and world-class manufacturing facility in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. “I explained that it doesn’t require EU obligation for us to follow the principles that they are looking for because our own Philippine government and Philippine agencies are very much aware of the principles and we are signatory to a number of international conventions already,” he added.

The trade agreement will cease at the end of 2023.

According to Pascual, the government has always supported good governance and is actively pushing the digital transformation of government operations.

He remarked, “I think I got a nice reply from them on my statement. I told them with or without the regulations of EU, we are obeying the principles that they are interested in.”

Pascual claimed that in order for the Philippines to be eligible for GSP+ after changing its classification from a lower middle-income nation to an upper middle-income country, it is necessary to secure its renewal.

The restart of our discussion about a fully committed free trade agreement, or FTA, between the Philippines and the EU, similar to what the EU has with some of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, is what he has been pushing for, he said.

Because the decision “needs to be made by the whole party,” Pascual claimed he was unable to obtain a reliable response from the group he spoke with regarding the trade pact renewal.

“You just judge it based on the conversation. When we first met, they did not pose any challenging questions, he continued.

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