Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bulgaria, Romania open gates for RP exports

THE European Union (EU) has advised the Philippine Government that Filipino exporters may now export to Bulgaria and Romania under the EU's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP scheme) effective January 1, 2007.

Charge d'affaires to the European Union Roger De Backer told the government that since Jan. 1, 2007, Bulgaria and Romania became member-states of the EU. Because of this, beneficiary countries like the Philippines may export to Bulgaria and Romania.

The two new EU members are in addition to the 25 EU members-states, namely, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

The news was relayed to the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) by the Bureau of Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales.

The rules of origin of the EU GSP scheme include administrative cooperation provisions in order to ensure their correct application. On the side of the EU, Article 93(3) of Regulation 2454/93 requires the European Commission to send to beneficiary countries specimen impressions of the stamps used by the customs authorities of the EU Member States for the issue of movement certificates EUR.1.

The movement certificates are used by exporters in the EU, when they send EU originating goods to beneficiary countries for the purposes of bilateral origin under the EU GSP scheme.

Decker also said the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (Unctad) is amending the certificate of origin to reflect the new membership of the EU, and Note III(b)(4) because Bulgaria now applies the EU scheme instead of its own.

However, this will not happen immediately and a long transitional period will be allowed. In the meantime, beneficiary countries may use their existing forms (irrespective of whether they bear the 2005, 2004 or 1996 notes on the back) for GSP exports to Bulgaria and Romania as well as the 25 other EU member-states.

In the case of Bulgaria, which until the end of 2006 applied its own GSP scheme, it was stressed that the origin criteria to be applied for GSP exports to it since January 1, 2007 are those of the EU's GSP scheme.

Sun Star Manila

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