THE Philippines’s rank as the United Kingdom’s trading partner is seen to go up “significantly,” according to the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP).
“Currently, the Philippines ranked 64th in terms of the trade it does with the UK. I can see that going up significantly,” BCCP Executive Director Chris Nelson said in a televised interview on Monday.
Nelson noted the Philippines’s 6.4-percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth reported in the first quarter of 2023 is “very significant” in driving the country’s rank beyond 64th place as UK’s trading partner.
Moreover, the BCCP official said the Developing Country Trading Scheme (DCTS) will be launched on June 7 and will be notified to the public on June 19.
As to how the Philippines will benefit from this UK trading scheme, he said, “I think what it’s gonna do particularly for the Philippines, is continue to grow trade that’s already doing extremely well.”
“The DCTS will reduce significantly, it’s removing, I think, 150 of the tariff lines. It will cover an area, I think of over 3.3 billion people,” Nelson said.
According to Nelson, total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Philippines was £2.4 billion in 2022. Nelson said the trade between the two nations “is very well balanced.”
Last week, the Philippines and the UK forged a partnership statement on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation.
Among the commitments enclosed in the statement is to “Drive investment opportunities in priority sectors.”
Under this commitment, the statement noted, the UK will work with the Philippines through the British Investment Partnerships (BIP) to “mobilize” private and public finance and technical expertise to support sustainable infrastructure projects and the transition to clean energy in the Philippines.
“We are committed to continued and open dialogue to ascertain key priority projects and maximize opportunities under BIP,” the Philippines-United Kingdom partnership statement read.
The two countries said renewable energy will be at the “forefront” of their engagement on the clean energy transition under the BIP.
In infrastructure, the countries said UK’s expertise on rail and integrated transport systems can create the “enabling” environment for sourcing high quality investment in public transport.
Climate finance, the countries said, can help to “de-risk” investment opportunities and address the needs of most at-risk communities.
Apart from driving investment opportunities in priority sectors, the two nations have agreed to keep growing economic relations by maximizing trade and investment opportunities.
“This will include sustaining exchanges on trade and investment policy, identifying and promoting tangible opportunities in key growth sectors, and addressing market access concerns to promote a level playing field,” the partnership statement read.
Specifically, the two countries said, “We will jointly promote the Developing Countries Trading Scheme [DCTS] to exporters and work to eliminate barriers to trade and investment.”
According to an earlier statement of DTI, the DCTS targets to lower or remove tariffs on additional 156 products for developing countries, including the Philippines, in addition to more than 6,000 tariff lines covered by the European Union Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (EU GSP+).
Meanwhile, another priority area of the two countries is promoting ease of doing business.
“We will sustain our strong partnership on improving the ease of doing business in the Philippines,” the two countries said, adding that this will focus on supporting the Philippines in achieving its regulatory reform objectives, building robust links in promoting the digital economy while recognizing the need to protect intellectual property rights and foster a more competitive, green, and open investment climate which can “further stimulate” capital investment flows into the country.
“We, the Philippines and the United Kingdom, recognize the critical role that bilateral and regional trade, investment, and economic cooperation play in driving inclusive growth and mutual prosperity,” the two nations said in a partnership statement released to the media on Wednesday, May 24.
For UK’s part, Ambassador Laure Beaufils said, “The bilateral trade between the UK and the Philippines is the highest it has ever been—and it continues to grow alongside British investment and economic cooperation. This year we will launch the Developing Country Trading Scheme to further boost bilateral trade between our two countries.”
Speaking for the Philippines, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo underscored the importance of DCTS and BIP, calling these “solid frameworks that will ensure our economic relations will remain still strong as ever.”