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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Comprehensive review of the EU GSP for developing countries

Ministers have recently endorsed the approach outlined by the presidency for a comprehensive review of the EU's generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP) for developing countries. The review of the GSP is aimed at adapting the system to the changed global landscape and making it more efficient, better responding therefore to the specific needs of the beneficiary countries. It agreed on a compromise focusing on five key areas in the Commission's proposal: country coverage;preference margins and product coverage; product graduation; "GSP+" (special incentive for sustainable development and good governance); and special safeguards.
On this basis, the presidency will prepare a mandate, to be approved by the Permanent Representatives Committee, for negotiations with the European Parliament on the draft regulation establishing the new GSP.
Preferences would be concentrated on the countries in greatest need (least developed, low income and lower middle-income countries), taking account of changing economic and trade patterns and
acknowledging that the economic crisis and preference erosion have hit the poorest countries hard.
The selection of beneficiaries would be largely income-based, with countries already enjoying preferences under free trade agreements or autonomous arrangements being excluded from the scheme.

Source: Council of the EU