PH is 5th biggest US GSP user in 2020 — USTR

The Philippines emerged as the fifth biggest user of the US Generalized System of Preferences in 2020 amid a decline in total claims by beneficiary countries under the preferential trade program, according to the latest report of the US Trade Representative (USTR).

The 2021 Trade Policy Agenda and 2020 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, which is prepared by the USTR, showed that top five GSP users in 2020 were, in order: Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The five leading least developed beneficiary developing countries  (LDBDC) GSP users were: Cambodia, Burma, Nepal, Malawi, and Ethiopia. There was no breakdown of claims on a per country user of the GSP. 

According to the USTR report, the value of trade in 2020 entering the US claimed under its GSP program were $16.8 billion, 20.1 percent down from $21billion in 201 and 30 percent lower than the $24 billion posted in 2018.


The USTR attributed the decline in GSP import totals as a reflection in part of the overall drop in U.S. imports during the COVID-19 pandemic. The removal of India and Turkey from the program in 2019, and the removal of benefits for some Thai products as contributing factors in the decline in GSP imports.

During 2020, imports under GSP accounted for less than 1 percent of all U.S. imports of goods. Imports from BDCs and LDBDCs coming in under GSP accounted for 11.1 percent of total imports from those countries during the same period. GSP imports from LDBDCs, rose from $2.1 billion to $2.4 billion, or by 16.9 percent, and accounted for 14.6 percent of GSP imports. 

Top US imports under the GSP program during 2020 were travel and sports bags, rubber gloves, gold necklaces, rubber or plastic mattresses, and precious metal jewelry. 

In 2019, US goods and services trade with Philippines totaled an estimated $30.6 billion in 2019. Exports were $12.1 billion; imports were $18.5 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Philippines was $6.4 billion in 2019.

Philippines is currently the 31st largest goods trading partner of the US with $21.4 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2019. Goods exports totaled $8.6 billion; goods imports totaled $12.8 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Philippines was $4.1 billion in 2019.

Trade in services with Philippines (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $9.2 billion in 2019. Services exports were $3.4 billion; services imports were $5.7 billion. The U.S. services trade deficit with Philippines was $2.3 billion in 2019.

In terms of exports, USTR said thePhilippines was the United States' 32nd largest goods export market in 2019.

US goods exports to Philippines in 2019 were $8.6 billion, down 0.8 percent ($74 million) from 2018 but up 49.9 percent from 2009.

The top export categories in 2019 were: electrical machinery ($2.7 billion), machinery ($764 million), cereals (wheat) ($731 million), oilseeds and oleaginous fruits (flour) ($583 million), and food waste, animal feed ($421 million).

Total exports of agricultural products to Philippines totaled $2.9 billion in 2019, our 10th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: soybean meal ($788 million), wheat ($708 million), dairy products ($273 million), prepared food ($111 million), and processed vegetables ($110 million).

US exports of services to Philippines were an estimated $3.4 billion in 2019, 2.2 percent ($75 million) more than 2018, and 79.1 percent greater than 2009 levels. Leading services exports from the U.S. to Philippines were in the travel, intellectual property (trademarks, audiovisual and related products), and professional and management services sectors.

In terms of imports, Philippines was the United States' 28th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.

US goods imports from Philippines totaled $12.8 billion in 2019, up 1.5 percent ($187 million) from 2018, and up 88.1 percent from 2009.

The top import categories in 2019 were: electrical machinery ($4.6 billion), machinery ($3.4 billion), optical and medical instruments ($561 million), knit apparel ($480 million), and leather products ($469 million).

US total imports of agricultural products from Philippines totaled $924 million in 2019. Leading categories include: tropical oils ($353 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($165 million), fruit & vegetable juices ($112 million), tree nuts ($92 million), and raw beet & cane sugar ($36 million).

U.S. imports of services from Philippines were an estimated $5.7 billion in 2019, 13.9% ($698 million) more than 2018, and 131 percent greater than 2009 levels. 

At this rate of trade, the US suffered goods trade deficit with Philippines of $4.1 billion in 2019, a 6.7 percent increase ($261 million) over 2018.

The US also had a services trade deficit of an estimated $2.3 billion with Philippines in 2019, up 37.4 percent from 2018. In terms of investment, US foreign direct investment (FDI) in Philippines (stock) was $6.9 billion in 2019, a 0.3 percent increase from 2018. US direct investment in Philippines is led by nonbank holding companies, manufacturing, and wholesale trade.

Meanwhile, Philippines FDI in the United States (stock) was $474 million in 2019, up 31.3 percent from 2018.

Sales of services in the Philippines by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $3.9 billion in 2017 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Philippines-owned firms were $26 million.