Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr bats for duty-free privileges for Philippine products exported to US; cites digital transformation efforts of Filipino firms

2023 May 4

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday called for the reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program so the country can enjoy duty-free privileges on several products it exports to the United States.

The President made the call in a speech at the forum organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce roundtable and reception at the Blair House in Washington.

Present at the forum were top American businessmen and Filipino tycoons that include Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Enrique Razon, Tessie Sy Coson and Kevin Tan, among others.

Marcos said it has been more than two years since the GSP program ended, and “we would like very much for the authorization to come about as this boost trade, and to make U.S. products that are made in the Philippines more competitive in the global market.”

‘Front and center’

In his speech, the President underscored that the Philippines’ ties with the United States is in the “front and center right now”, overcoming “some bumps and scrapes” over the past years.

“And but now, the security and defense are top of mind… we also have to see that because our economies and our societies have grown more complex, everything, impinges on everything else and… it is very hard for us to separate and say that this is a discreet sector that does not affect any other sector,” added Marcos.

Invest in PH

The chief executive also touted before American business executives the Philippine economy’s growth, which stood at 7.6 percent last year.

“This is the effect of our very aggressive efforts really to promote the Philippines as an investment destination,” said Marcos.

The chief executive called on U.S. companies to invest more in the Philippines as the country stepped up efforts to “create an atmosphere that is attractive to potential investors and we continue that process.”

“We will continue to listen to you and to all our other partners as to what else we can do to help the — to help transform our economy and in that way to be able to play a viable part in the security and defense issues that are the challenges of the day and of the region,” said Marcos.

Digital transformation

The President also touched on advancing the digital transformation of Philippine-based companies “to foster the competitiveness of the semiconductor and electronics sector”.

Marcos said the country has supported the “smart industry readiness” of several semiconductor and electronics manufacturing services companies “helps our digital transformation roadmaps.”

Semiconductor, electric vehicles

The semiconductor industry, on the other hand, can gain more from increasing skills in research and development, said the President.

“Because Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) is vulnerable to disruptive technologies, we need to undertake research and development that will help us improve business for OSAT firms in the country,” added Marcos.

With the trend toward electric vehicles, Marcos said the Philippine exports geared towards electric vehicle use such as wire harnesses, rubber tires, and automotive electronics have good potential.

The country is also optimistic about the future increase in exports of solar and photovoltaic-related products from the Philippines as many countries strive to comply with their decarbonization targets, added Marcos.