A reformed version of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) was introduced by the EU in 2014. Since then, less developed countries have benefitted from tariff cuts worth an estimated €63 billion.
Thanks to this initiative, exports to the EU from these countries have risen by nearly 40%. In addition to this, a new report from the commission has highlighted the positive and ongoing impact the rebate scheme is having on these countries, both economically and in promoting better human rights and development.
The GSP is considered one of the EU’s most important tactics in supporting developing nations, and consists of arrangements designed to give easier access to the EU market. It reduced the import duty for around 66% of all products across the 23 countries and involves the monitoring of their policies and future missions.
This new report shows that the scheme seems to be working, and significant progress has been made on several important issues including women’s rights, drug trafficking, child labour laws and climate change. Just one example of the changes we’ve seen is new legislation being introduced in Pakistan to help reduce the number of rape and honour killing cases.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini said “The Generalised Scheme of Preference complements the European Union’s political engagement with its partners.”
“As a result, we have contributed to the strengthening of civil society and independent voices and to the better protection of human rights through national legislation in partner countries. And we will continue to work together with our partners, investing in human rights, investing in the work of civil society, investing in open societies – to guarantee sustainable security for all.”
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström added “We’re now seeing positive changes in many places around the world – strengthening core values of EU trade policy such as human rights and sustainable development. Stronger domestic institutions and laws are helping to put crucial international conventions into place.”
“In some countries, there are still areas of serious concern as regards human rights and sustainability. Here, our trade schemes provide leverage for us to apply pressure and effect change, and we need to strengthen our joint efforts.”
The commission added that the EU plans to continue working alongside each of the GSP beneficiary countries in order to strengthen their involvement in improving human rights policies. The EU also hopes to continue supporting the ongoing efforts of the the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ensure that GSP countries are being compliant with all their obligations.
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