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EU trade scheme for developing countries from January 2014

Staff writer |
The European Union's rules determining which countries pay less or no duty when exporting to the 28 country trade bloc, and for which products, will change on 1 January 2014.

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The changes to the EU's so-called "Generalised Scheme of Preferences" (GSP) have been agreed with the European Parliament and the Council in October 2012 and are designed to focus help on developing countries most in need. The GSP scheme is seen as a powerful tool for economic development by providing the world's poorest countries with preferential access to the EU's market of 500 million consumers.

The new scheme will be focused on fewer beneficiaries (90 countries) to ensure more impact on countries most in need. At the same time, more support will be provided to countries which are serious about implementing international human rights, labour rights and environment and good governance conventions ("GSP+").

The EU announced the new rules more than a year ago to allow companies enough time to understand the impact of the changes on their business and adapt. To make the transition even smoother for exporting companies, the Commission has prepared a practical GSP guide.

The guide explains in three steps what trade regime will apply after 1 January 2014 to a particular product shipped to the EU from any given country. It also provides information on the trade regime that will apply to goods arriving to the EU shortly after the New Year.

The changes in a nutshell: 90 countries, out of the current 177 beneficiaries, will continue to benefit from the EU's preferential tariff scheme; 67 countries will benefit from other arrangements with a privileged access to the EU market, but will not be covered by the GSP anymore; 20 countries will stop benefitting from preferential access to the EU. These countries are now high and upper-middle income countries and their exports will now enter the EU with a normal tariff applicable to all other developed countries.


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