Marcos asks US Congress to reauthorize GSP program

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Image by GREGOR from Pixabay
  • President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. appealed to the US Congress to fast track reauthorization of the US Generalized System of Preferences program
  • Legal authorization for the program expired on December 31, 2020 and is pending Congressional renewal
  • Marcos said there is demand from the US and the Philippine private sectors for engagement in a bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. appealed to the US Congress to fast track reauthorization of the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

Speaking during the recent Philippine-US Business Forum in Washington DC, Marcos pointed out the future with the US will be sustained not only through the country’s ironclad security and defense alliance, but also through closer economic integration.

“For this reason, we appeal to the US Congress to fast track the reauthorization of the US GSP program which has benefitted beneficiary countries such as the Philippines,” Marcos, who was in Washington from April 10 to 14 for trilateral talks with the US and Japan, said.

Established by the Trade Act of 1974, GSP is the largest and oldest US trade preference program that provides nonreciprocal, duty-free treatment enabling many of the world’s developing countries—including the Philippines—to spur diversity and economic growth through trade.

Legal authorization for the program expired on December 31, 2020 and is still pending Congressional renewal.

Marcos said the Philippines is a major market for US products, citing US Department of Agriculture data. In 2021, the Philippines was the eighth largest market for US agricultural exports and the top market in Southeast Asia.

In the same year, the Philippines imported around $3.5 billion worth of agricultural goods from the US, Marcos said.

He added there is demand from both the US and the Philippine private sectors for engagement in a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

“The benefits for concluding an FTA together with a Critical Minerals Agreement between both our countries will be transformative and will create new jobs, strengthen supply chains, establish new businesses, and upskill our workforce,” Marcos said.

In 2023, semiconductors and integrated circuits were the Philippines’ biggest exports to the US amounting to $3.1 billion, or 23.3% of its total exports to the North American country.

“We are seeing expansions by US companies in the Philippines in this sector. So, with the assistance from the US government, through the International Technology Security and Innovation Fund managed by the US State Department, we can achieve our goal of producing 128,000 semiconductor engineers and technicians by 2028 as demanded by the industry,” Marcos said.

During the US’ first Presidential Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines last March, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced the American companies’ planned investment in at least $1 billion worth of projects that will create educational and career opportunities for Filipinos.

The US was the Philippines’ fourth largest source of foreign direct investment last year.