Press Release
October 20, 2015

Villar stresses PH advantage under GSP+ scheme

Sen. Cynthia Villar underscored the advantage of the Philippines being the only country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that was accepted in the GSP+ program of the European Union (EU).

"Allowing Philippine producers to export more than 6,000 products to any of the 28 EU member countries at zero tariff will definitely help the Philippines diversify trade, increase exports and attract foreign direct investments," Villar said.

"This is on top of increasing employment opportunities, as it is expected to create more than 250,000 jobs in both the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, majority of which in the rural areas," she added.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, was in Cologne, Germany to speak during the Philippine Business Forum of the Anuga Fair, the world's largest and most important food and beverage fair.

"It will give us some advantage as well in the regional economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC,that begins in December this year," she stressed.

Citing a study by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Villar saidPhilippine exports under GSP+ will increase by 611.8 million Euros during the first three years of availment.

"I am one with the DTI in its campaign and in urging Philippine exporters to seize the opportunities and advantages of exporting under the EU GSP+ scheme. We need to increase our information dissemination efforts," Villar said.

Villar said amendments to the Fisheries Code of 1998 which prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing caused the inclusion of the Philippines in the GSP+ scheme.

"The passage of the said law caused the lifting of the yellow tag imposed by the EU. If it were not immediately addressed, the tag would cause a ban on the Philippines to export fish products to one of the country's largest markets," she said.

In 2013 alone, the Philippines exported PhP9.4 billion worth of fish products, primarily tuna, to EU countries.

The Philippine pavilion featured in the Anuga fair showcases a total of 35 food-exporting companies, represented by over 96 delegates from the food sector. The participation this year is expected to generate US$52.80 million or PhP2.376 billion in export sales, which will provide an estimated 45,520 new job opportunities for Filipinos.

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