Reports of non-compliance of the Philippines to resolve human rights violations and lack of press freedom as a requisite for the renewal of the preferential trade agreement with the European Union (EU) are all fake news, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said over the weekend.
Trade secretary Ramon Lopez said derogatory news like those reported recently “only give false impressions on the real situation in the Philippines.”
“It is unfortunate that the politicians of a huge economic block are the ones destroying the image of small democratic country of peace-loving Filipinos, and it is like bullying a small country. They should ask the Filipinos in their companies or communities.
They should also ask the EU citizens, the EU business chambers in the country. The 72 percent of population who gave a high approval rating for President Duterte cannot be wrong,” he said over the weekend.
The Philippines has a pending petition for the renewal of the EU Generalized System of Preference plus (GSP+), which is on its 8th year run in the Philippines. The trade system is set to expire in December 2023.
Lopez said the Philippines, despite the negative news, remains confident it will continue to enjoy the benefits of the trade program following the massive efforts taken to comply with all the required measures.
“At any rate, we continue to provide the facts and figures to the authority, the EU Commission. As mentioned, we continue to facilitate their regular GSP+ monitoring mission and there is one forthcoming at the end of the month,” Lopez said.
He added that the Philippines has developed a process that is more systematic and organized in obtaining accurate information regarding the real situation in the country.