Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual recently requested US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to extend zero-tariff to Philippine-made garments and shoes. Pascual made the request during Philippine President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr.’s official visit to Washington, D.C. He also met with President Joe Biden and called for the renewal of the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) at a meeting with business executives.
The US GSP, which provides zero duty for 3,500 tariff lines, expired on December 31, 2020, and is yet to be reauthorized by Congress. DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, who is also part of the delegation, said the US executive authorities have conveyed their support for the reauthorization, and therefore, the Philippine government is hopeful. The US executive department is also supportive of reimbursing the tariffs paid since 2021.
The delegation has planned to meet at least eight US companies, hoping to bring in more investments and jobs, Pascual was quoted as saying by a news agency.
The Philippine government is seeking to revive the country’s textile industry, which has been struggling due to the pandemic and the lack of government support. The textile industry is considered a vital sector in the Philippines, employing over 200,000 people and contributing around 3% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
According to Pascual, the Philippine textile industry has the potential to become a major player in the global market if given the necessary support. “We have a highly skilled workforce, and we have the raw materials. What we need is a level playing field to compete with other countries,” he said.
The Philippine government is also seeking to attract more foreign investments in the country, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, manufacturing, and information technology. The country’s economic managers have projected that the Philippines will recover from the pandemic-induced recession this year, with a GDP growth of 6% to 7%.
In conclusion, the Philippine government is pushing for the renewal of the US GSP to revive its textile industry and attract more foreign investments. With the support of the US executive authorities, the Philippine government is hopeful that the GSP will be reauthorized soon.