Inception report

Many thanks for your comments to the draft inception report - the final version has now been published.

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About the European Union's (EU) Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)

Since 1971, the EU GSP scheme offers easier access to the EU market for goods exported from developing countries by eliminating or reducing import tariffs unilaterally (i.e. on a non-reciprocal basis). The rationale of the GSP is to offer easier access to the EU market in order to promote sustainable economic, social and environmental development in developing countries – in particular, the poorest and most vulnerable ones – with the primary objective of reducing poverty.

The GSP consists of three distinct arrangements with different beneficiary countries and levels of preferences:

  • The Standard GSP for low and lower-middle income countries provides partial or full removal of customs duties on about two-thirds of the EU’s tariff lines. This arrangement currently (as of 2019) has 15 beneficiary countries.
  • The special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) reduces the same tariffs to 0% for “vulnerable” low and lower-middle income countries that have ratified and implement 27 international conventions related to human rights, labour rights, protection of the environment and good governance. The GSP+ currently has 8 beneficiary countries.
  • The Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement, which currently has 48 beneficiary countries, provides least developed countries (LDCs) with duty-free, quota-free market access for all their products except arms and ammunition.

More on the EU GSP [external link]

About the review of the EU GSP and this study

The current legal basis for the GSP, Council Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of 25 October 2012, will expire at the end of 2023. If no new GSP Regulation is enacted, the Standard GSP and the GSP+ will be discontinued, and imports from the current beneficiary countries would attract the “normal” EU tariffs; only the EBA would continue to be applied. Depending on how much a beneficiary country exports to the EU, this could negatively affect growth, employment and investment in beneficiary countries.

A midterm evaluation (published in October 2018) of the GSP concluded that the current framework is largely effective and delivering on its objectives. The European Parliament in a non-legislative resolution of March 2019 also acknowledged the positive impact of the GSP Regulation and made a number of recommendations for its review. These focus on encouraging export diversification, placing more emphasis on improving environmental standards, stakeholder engagement and better monitoring of GSP implementation.

The European Commission will prepare an impact assessment to examine the economic, social, environmental, and human rights impacts of possible policy options for various elements of a new EU GSP regulation. The study implemented by a consortium led by BKP Economic Advisors, an economic research and consulting firm based in Germany, supports the impact assessment by analysing the need for, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of, the several options for improvement that have arisen from the evaluation work.

Work on the study started in December 2019 and will continue over 10 months. The team will prepare three main reports, which will be published on this website and discussed with stakeholders before being finalised.

Study Timeline

December 2019

Kick-off

The kick-off meeting with the Commission was held on 12 December 2019 and launched the inception phase, during which the methodology is finalised.
February 2020
06 May 2020

Civil society dialogue meeting

Webinar with the EU civil society to discuss the draft inception report. Progress meetings with the European Commission and the EU Member States' expert group will also be held.
mid-May 2020

Final inception report

The report will be published on this website.
February-15 July 2020
September 2020

Interim Report

The interim report will be published to provide an update of the research status and to invite comments from stakeholders.
September 2020

Progress meetings

Progress meetings with the European Commission, the EU Member States' expert group and civil society to discuss the interim report.
November 2020

Draft final report

The draft final report will be published to invite comments from stakeholders before finalisation.
November 2020

Progress meetings

Progress meetings with the European Commission, the EU Member States' expert group and civil society to discuss the draft final report.
December 2020

Final Report

The report will be published on this website.