The European Parliament is set to vote on a draft resolution supporting the establishment at the United Nations Human Rights Council of an independent international investigation into extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines.
The parliament has expressed grave concern over the reported number of extrajudicial killings related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
Technically, the resolution is non-binding, as the EU exercises no jurisdiction over the Philippines and its internal affairs. Whether or not there will be an international investigation into the alleged EJKs is a decision that only the United Nations will, and can make.
The only possible impact of the EU resolution is that the Philippines could face possible loss of its EU GSP+ ( Generalized System of Preferences Plus) privileges with the Union. That status allows the country to export 6,274 eligible products duty-free to the EU market.
Philippine exports to the EU currently account for 12 percent, or roughly $7 billion of the country’s total exports of $58 billion. Of that $7 billion, only about 20 to 25 percent are products covered by the EU GSP+, with the rest covered under the regular EU GSP.
Hypothetically, even if the country loses the entire $7 billion in export value to EU, that amount could easily covered by new trade deals made by President Duterte with the country’s Asian neighbors, including Japan, China, Singapore and others. ($24 billion from China alone.)
As it currently stands, Philippine exports to Japan stand at $ 12 billion or 21 percent of its total exports; United States at $8 billion or 15 percent; China at $6 billion or 10%; Hong Kong at $6 billion or 10%; and Singapore at $3 billion or 6 percent. These figures do not reflect the new trade deals recently negotiated by President Duterte.
So the Opposition in the Philippines can drum up and make a huge deal about the EU Parliament resolution, but as Department of Trade and Industry export marketing bureau director Senen Perlada said, it is not cause for alarm.
Whatever we lose from EU could easily be offset by our country’s increasing trade with its partner countries in the Asia Pacific region.
That’s assuming, of course, that EU will totally cut trade with the Philippines.