MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM), together with the Philippine Retirement Authority, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Malaya Business Insight, and Albergus Catering, held the third “Markets of the World” (MOW) III on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, at the WTCMM.
It was well-attended by delegates representing varied industries, a majority of whom are food and agri-based exporters, property developers, logistics, manufacturing, trading and services. Diverse sectors were also represented, from foreign embassies, to trade associations, private and government sectors.
The MOW III provided an important convergence of professionals absorbing a wealth of information on European Union matters, especially in the light of the General System of Preference Plus (GSP+) and on doing business, joining vibrant and relevant discussions, and sharing interests from among delegates and resource persons.
Opening the MOW was Dr. Sergio Ortiz Luis Jr., President and CEO of Philippine Exporters’ Confederation, Inc., and Director of the Manila Exposition Complex Inc. (MEC), the owner of WTCMM. In his Welcome Message, Mr. Ortiz Luis pointed out the significance of the EU GSP+ recently accorded to the Philippines and he said that the ball is now in the hands of the Filipino exporters to deliver and increase exports to the European Union-member countries.
Setting the tone for the Program, Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry enthused that the Philippines is well-positioned in pursuing a more confident trade policy agenda, especially now that it is the fastest growing trading nation in Southeast Asia. He went on to give an overview on the GSP+. He said that the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) is an autonomous trade arrangement under which the EU grants non-reciprocal trade preferences to exports of beneficiary countries, where GSP+ is one of the arrangements. Furthermore, he said that the GSP+ is a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance in the form of zero duties, accorded to 13 countries, including the Philippines, the lone ASEAN member country.
Dr. Rodolfo noted that GSP+ offers a more generous scheme of preferences compared to the Regular GSP and informed that it has a larger coverage of 6,274 products, which represents about 66% of the tariff lines, all of which will be accorded zero duty. He pointed out that GSP+ stands to benefit those sectors with the highest preferential margins between Regular GSP and GSP+ such as prepared foodstuffs, garments, textile products, live animals & animal products, footwear, headwear & umbrellas. He stressed that in order to avail of the GSP+, an applicant country must meet two conditions: (1) non-diversification of exports and low proportions of EU imports; and, (2) ratification of 27 international conventions on human and labor rights, environment and governance principles and effective implementation of these conventions.
To complement the discussion, Counsellor Van Hattum of the EU Delegation gave an overview of the EU economy, including its trade performance with the Philippines. He said that GSP+ is a good instrument to take advantage of while also pursuing other trade policy options which the Filipino exporters can engage and take advantage of. He shared that following products with relatively high duties before can very well benefit from the GSP+: pineapple products, bicycles, fish fillet, footwear, tuna, sardines/bonito, pineapple juice, and fruit jams/jellies.
Thereafter, each distinguished speaker from the EU-member countries gave an overview of how a Filipino can do business with them, especially in the light of the GSP+: Ambassador Derckx for Netherlands; Deputy Head of Mission Michael Hasper and GPCCI Executive Director Peter Kompalla for Germany; Economic and Trade Counsellor Enrique Feas for Spain; Deputy Head of Mission Fabio Schina and ICCPI President Sergio Boero for Italy; Counsellor Artur Dabkowski for Poland and Director Iain Mansfield for United Kingdom. They all started by giving a general overview on their respective countries, highlighting their economy and bilateral trade with the Philippines. They also shared the famous brands from their countries, which are present in the Philippines - Unilever, Philips and Shell from Netherlands; Lufthansa Technik, Continental and STEAG from Germany; Amadeus, Mapfre, and Mango from Spain; Ferrari, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Barilla from Italy; Inglot, Mlekpol and Instanta from Poland; and Marks and Spencers; Land Rover and GSK from the United Kingdom. The speakers gave an overview of the standards and regulations, as well as the windows of opportunities that the Filipinos may consider when doing business with them either as an importer, exporter or investor.
The MOW is a regular trade info seminar conducted by the WTCMM that features different major and fast-emerging economies every seminar series.
To contact the WTCMM about its upcoming trade activities and details of the Function Rooms and Exhibition Halls, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.