EU notes low GSP+ utilization by electronics industry


A TRADE official from the European Union (EU) said Philippine electronics exporters need to maximize the trade perks they are entitled to in shipping products to Europe, noting that the industry is using only a little over half its entitlements.

Trade Counsellor Maurizio Cellini of the EU Delegation to the Philippines said electronics exporters have been benefiting from the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

Under GSP+ 6,274 Philippine products enjoy zero-tariff entry to the European Union provided the country adheres to 27 core international conventions that include human and labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance.

“Take advantage of the EU GSP+, which as you know backs labor and environmental sustainability and respect for human rights — and invest in the sector especially on high value products,” Mr. Cellini said at a SEIPI webinar on Tuesday.

He said that the Philippine electronics exports sector must invest in micro and nano technology to retain a competitive advantage.

“(Electronics remain) the top-traded goods between the Philippines and the European Union,” he said, noting that the electronics industry had a GSP+ utilization rate of 56% last year.

“We all know very well that electronics, and particularly semiconductors, and their value chain underpin innovation and competitiveness in all major sectors of the economy.”

The European Parliament has asked the European Commission to start the process for temporarily withdrawing GSP+ in the Philippines, after the government failed to improve the human rights situation.

Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) President Danilo C. Lachica said without GSP+, the cost of Philippine electronics exports will be higher compared with other countries enjoying the incentive.

“As such we will be more expensive,” he said in a mobile message on Tuesday.

He said during the webinar that the industry is still experiencing a contraction due to the pandemic.

“There are challenges that we need to overcome: the stability of the supply chain, the (lack of) public transportation,” he said. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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