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The UK Government Launches New Trade Scheme in the Philippines

Top Facts – Developing Countries Trading Scheme

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On 7 June 2023, the UK government launched the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) in Manila – a major milestone in opening up new trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

His Majesty’s Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils opened the event, with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual joining as the guest of honour. Representatives from the Philippine government, exporters to the UK, and industry associations were also in attendance. The launch was delivered in partnership with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP).

Speaking at the launch, His Majesty’s Ambassador, Laure Beaufils said:

I am delighted to announce that the UK’s new unilateral preferences scheme, the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), will come into effect on 19 June 2023. The DCTS will cut tariff, remove conditions and simplify trading rules. It will increase trade and strengthen the trade relationship between the UK and the Philippines.  I strongly encourage businesses to take full advantage of this new scheme.

Trade Preferences Policy Advisor Sabiha Ahmed delivered a keynote highlighting high potential value chains and products that can benefit from the new scheme. This was based on research into UK retailers’ and consumers’ buying considerations, and insights from Filipino producers, financiers, trade programmes and policymakers. The programme also included presentations on customs processes and agricultural standards for Philippine exporters.

Trade between the Philippines and the UK reached an all-time high of £2.4 billion in 2022. The Philippines exports a range of high value products to the UK including tuna, shirts, and starch, which benefit from significant tariff reductions under the DCTS. . DCTS has the potential to save Philippine businesses over £20 million a year on UK export tariffs.

Philippine exports to the UK can benefit from an additional 150+ tariff cuts under the DCTS. DCTS Enhanced Preferences offer generous tariff preferences and facilitate access to the UK market for Philippine businesses across a wide range of industries.

Also present during the launch was Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual. In his opening message, he said:

The UK-DCTS, as one of the most generous trade preference schemes in the world, enables the Philippines to have continued access to enhanced preferences. We look forward to our country having access to duty-free, quota-free trade on 92 percent of our eligible goods—or 99 percent of our exports to the UK.

The UK Government is launching the DCTS to replace the Generalised Scheme of Preferences with the aim to grow free and fair trade with selected countries. It offers one of the most generous sets of trading preferences in the world and demonstrates the UK’s commitment to building long term, mutually beneficial relationship with the Philippines.

The Trade Preferences Policy Advisor also delivered information sessions to DTI, BCCP, and other industry associations. The sessions focused on sharing insights on current trends, UK market purchasing criteria, barriers to trade and what can be done to unlock the Philippines’ trade and investment potential. Attendees also learnt about other key trade-related information including quality certification and customs requirements.

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