TRADE Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual welcomed the launch of the United Kingdom Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), saying it will enable more Philippine exporters to compete in the UK market “successfully.”
Describing the trading scheme as “one of the most generous trade preference schemes in the world,” Pascual said the Philippines will have continued access to enhanced preferences.
“We look forward to our country having access to duty-free, quota-free trade on 92 percent of our eligible goods—or 99 percent of our exports to the UK. These concessions will enable more Philippine exporters to compete in the UK market successfully,” Pascual said in his speech at the launch of UK DCTS on Wednesday.
The DCTS lowers or removes tariffs on more than 150 products. Its coverage extends to the country’s agricultural products such as tomatoes, milk and cream, cheese, grains, tropical fruits, and animal and vegetable oils, Pascual noted.
Moreover, he said electronic products and optical instruments—“all of which we can supply well”—are in great demand in the UK and, under the DCTS, will enjoy preferential tariffs.
Pascual said Philippine products that will benefit from this trade scheme are tuna, shirts, and t-shirts. For instance, he noted, “our annual export of tuna worth 40 million Pounds so far will enjoy a 20-percentage-point reduction in import duty.”
But, beyond reducing tariffs, the Trade chief said the scheme’s “important” benefits for the Philippines rest on its provision for “simpler” rules and procedures, including the rules of origin. He said the simplified trade conditions and regional cumulation measures will benefit Philippine exports.
“Exporters of electronic products, which is our top commodity group in 2022, can source components from other Southeast Asian countries within its Group, follow processing rules, and still claim products as originating from the Philippines,” Pascual said.
In turn, Pascual said the UK can also look forward to the Philippines’s continued development. “UK businesses will find immense potential in the Philippines as a destination for their investments. Our country has been on a remarkable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Our GDP growth rate soared to 7.6 percent in 2022, up from 5.7 percent in 2021. This year, 2023, the Philippines is forecast to grow at 6 percent,” the Trade chief stressed.
Moreover, Pascual underscored that the country remains “on track” to become an upper-middle income nation in the next few years, despite the global economic slowdowns and inflationary pressures.
The Trade chief also pitched to UK businesses the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)’s Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028, which President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. approved onTuesday.
“The PEDP aims to address the challenges we face in growing our exports and capitalize on export opportunities brought about by the ongoing reconfiguration of global value chains. Our goal is for the Philippines to become an agile export powerhouse,” Pascual said. The Philippines was the UK’s 64th largest trading partner in 2022, data from the UK’s Department for Business and Trade showed.
It added that total UK exports to the Philippines amounted to £1.2 billion in 2022. On the other hand, total UK imports from the Philippines amounted to £1.2 billion in 2022.
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