EU Trade with Third Countries

On 11 March 2020, the European Commission launched a consultation to collect views from business, third countries, NGOs and associations over a possible revision of the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). The EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences provides one-way tariff preferences to developing countries. More concretely, the scheme allows developing countries to export their products into the EU with fewer duties, and in some cases, even duty free. The received feedback will be used by the European Commission to carry out an impact assessment on possible policy options to amend the existing rules.

To this end, the public consultation provides an opportunity for countries benefiting from the scheme, as well as those that wish to be included, to make their voice heard and shape the new rules. Low and lower middle-income countries have an opportunity to make contributions both in terms of coverage and benefits, across the three offerings of the scheme, namely: Standard GSP, GSP+ and Everything But Arms. In addition, there is also a chance to shape the conditions to be granted access to the scheme. Last, countries will also be able to take a position on the monitoring mechanisms of the EU.

While the existing Generalized Scheme of Preferences is not set to expire until 2023, the public consultation means that the process to determine its content for the future is already in full motion. In fact, all interested parties are encouraged to submit their feedback by June 3, 2020. Aside from the European Commission, other stakeholders will be involved, in particular the European Parliament and the Council’s Working Party for GSP.