Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday that about 200,000 Filipino workers could lose their jobs should the Duterte administration let the European Union to revoke the country’s tariff perks for Filipino goods over alleged human rights abuses.
Robredo said that Philippines’ exports to the EU worth P108.9 billion will be affected when its Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) trading privilege is cancelled.
The GSP+ status allows the Philippines to export to the 27 EU-member states without duties or with reduced tariffs. No tariff is imposed on 6,200 Filipino products.
Among these goods are animal and vegetable oil, fruits, electrical equipment, footwear, textile, fish, and meat.
“May estimate dito ’yung European Chamber of Commerce sa Pilipinas na natatranslate ito to about 200,000 na trabaho (The European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines has an estimate that this translates to 200,000 jobs),” she said.
“Kapag tinanggal ito, ito ‘yung mawawala sa atin (If it is revoked, this is what we will lose),” Robredo added.
In a resolution last week, the European Parliament recommended the revocation of the Philippines’ GSP+ status if the government did not abide by international conventions on human rights.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque dared the international body to “go ahead” with its threat to withdraw the country’s tariff perks over alleged human rights abuses.
Robredo said the government should prove to EU it did not commit any wrongdoing and it’s willing to cooperate so the GSP+ revocation will not happen.
“Ang tamang stance i-prove sa EU na wala tayong violation pero kapag dinismiss mo kaagad para hindi iyon mgandang pagpapakita (The right stance is to prove to EU we have no violation, but if you, dismiss it outright, it doesn’t look good),” Robredo said.