EU: Proposal for new Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)

Key features being revised to respond to the evolving needs and challenges of GSP countries

Key features being revised to respond to evolving needs and challenges of GSP countries

The European Commission today announced it has adopted a legislative proposal for the new EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) for the period 2024-2034.

According to a release from the EC, some of the key features of the GSP are being revised to respond to the evolving needs and challenges of GSP countries as well as reinforce the scheme's social, labour environmental and climate dimension.

The GSP regulation is a unilateral trade tool that removes or reduces import duties from products coming into the EU from vulnerable low-income countries.

  • The new GSP framework is expected to strengthen the EU's ability to use trade preferences to create economic opportunities and to advance sustainable development.
  • The modernised framework is expected to expand the grounds for the withdrawal of EU GSP preferences in case of serious and systematic violations.
  • The GSP has several features to make sure trade preferences go to countries that need them the most and to support their sustainable development.

The new proposal further is intended to:

  • Provide a smooth transition for all countries set to move from “least developed country” status in the next decade.
  • Maximize opportunities for low-income countries to benefit from the GSP by lowering product graduation thresholds (that is, the temporary suspension of tariff preferences for highly competitive products) by 10 percentage points so that the large industrialised producers leave more space in sectors where they are very competitive
  • Expand the list of international conventions that need to be complied with by adding two additional human rights instruments for the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of children
  • Set up a well-defined framework for the current GSP+ beneficiaries to adapt to the new requirements, offering an adequate transition period and requiring the presentation of implementation plans

To reinforce the importance of meeting climate change and environmental protection standards, the new GSP proposal:

  • Introduces the possibility to withdraw GSP benefits for serious and systematic violations of the principles of the conventions on climate change and environmental protection
  • Extends the list of international conventions that GSP+ countries must ratify beyond the current seven environmental and climate instruments, now including the Paris Agreement


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