PH gov’t welcomes US duty-free entry scheme re-authorization

MANILA The Philippine government, through the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, welcomed the reauthorization of the United States Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of the scheme that allows duty-free entry of more than 5,000 products to America.

Philippine Ambasador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said the Philippines has enjoyed preferential duty-free entry to the US through the GSP program.

GSP exports account for 18 percent of Philippine exports to the US, valued at an estimated USD1.59 billion.

In his report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Romualdez said he emphasized the importance of this program to Philippine exporters and micro, small and medium enterprises.

"It has been and will remain an important component of the development cooperation framework of the Philippines and the United States," he said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

"We thank the US Congress and the Trump Administration for the renewal of this triple-win program for developing countries, US businesses and American consumers," he added.

"We also thank other GSP beneficiaries, industry associations and US importers who joined us in advocating for the renewal of GSP."

The scheme, instituted in 1974 and renewed periodically, provides duty-free access to thousands of eligible products for beneficiary developing countries, such as the Philippines.

It expired in December 2017 and was reauthorized March this year after it was included in the Omnibus Spending Bill signed into law last March 23 by President Trump.

The renewal authorizes the GSP until Dec. 31, 2020 and covers a total 5,057 products or tariff lines or roughly 47.7 percent of the 10,600 total US tariff lines.

Effective July 1 last year, a total of 23 travel goods articles were added to the program.

Source: Philippine News Agency