Contributed by Carissa Caraig, AFAB
MARIVELES, Bataan – The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) encourages the registered locators of the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) to maximize the competitive advantages that the European Union Generalized System of Preferences Plus (EU GSP+) offers, noting that it will further help them expand their businesses in the Philippines and boost their presence in the EU market.
“The number of local firms that are tapping the benefits of EU GSP+ are increasing, from 66% in 2015 to 71% in 2016. The surge in utilization rate showed that more industries are finding the benefits of the scheme. This could also become the competitive edge of the FAB locators,” AFAB Chairman and Administrator Emmanuel D. Pineda said.
“Exploring the benefits that the EU GSP+ scheme will also help the AFAB attract more investors to the freeport,” Chairman Pineda added.
The chairman made the statement during the AFAB Forum on GSP+, which was attended by FAB-registered locators. The forum and information campaign was conducted to help the locators understand better the said tariff scheme and maximize its benefits. The forum will also help non-EU exporters to enter the largest single market in the world.
“For the past several years, the Authority has been actively collaborating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for promotions activities to invite more foreign investors to put up their businesses here in the Philippines, especially in the FAB. This is because the Philippines is currently the only country in ASEAN that is enrolled in the EU GSP+ scheme. And this is an advantage that you, our FAB locators can avail and enjoy,” Chairman Pineda told the locators.
For his part, Deputy Administrator for Operations Alewijn Aidan K. Ong assured the locators that the AFAB, the DTI and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) will assist the locators in navigating the rules of origin and requirements for the EU GSP+ to help them hurdle other barriers.
Meanwhile, resource speakers from the DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and Bureau of Internal Trade Relations (BITR) discussed the rules and requirements declared under the EU GSP+ scheme.
Trade Industry Development Specialist Jollan Margaret Llaneza of BITR explained to the locators how they could avail of the zero tariff schemes under the EU GSP+. EMB Sr. Trade Industry Development Specialist Maria Jaena Go-Aco, on the other hand, explained the rules of origin and the procedures in exporting to the EU member countries.
Ms. Llaneza noted that exporters of textile, garments, apparels, and shoes from the FAB could also avail of duty-free exports. The EU member countries charged a regular tax rate of 16.9% for exporters that are not from the GSP+ members. The Philippines’ enrollment to the GSP+ gave the FAB, which has a cluster of manufacturing plants producing high-end of textile, garments, apparels and shoes, a competitive advantage.
The FAB’s top exporter to the EU market is Dong-in Group of Companies, which has 7 manufacturing plants, the Almatech Mfg. Corp., D.I. Dawn Patrol Mfg. Corp., Dong-In Entech K-1, Inc., Dong-In Sunbirds Corp., East-Cam Tech Corp., Edge Soft Good Solution, Inc. and Mountaineering Instruments Corp. The Korean conglomerate exports sporting bags, child carriers and strollers to Europe. About 20% of its products are exported to selected EU member countries every year.
The FAB is the fashion-manufacturing hub of the Philippines, as it possesses a cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others. Its vision is to be the Freeport of choice in the country by 2020, becoming a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia and promoting work-life balance and global competitiveness.