Texto integral 
Processo : 2018/2107(INI)
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Ciclo relativo ao documento : A8-0090/2019

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Debates :

PV 14/03/2019 - 7
CRE 14/03/2019 - 7

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PV 14/03/2019 - 11.5
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Quinta-feira, 14 de Março de 2019 - Estrasburgo Edição revista

7. Aplicação do Regulamento relativo ao sistema de preferências generalizadas (SPG) (debate)
Vídeo das intervenções

  La Présidente. – L’ordre du jour appelle le débat sur le rapport de Christofer Fjellner, au nom de la commission du commerce international, sur la mise en œuvre du règlement (UE) n° 978/2012 relatif au système de préférences généralisées (SPG) (2018/2107(INI)) (A8-0090/2019).


  Christofer Fjellner, Rapporteur. – Madam President, free trade is one of the best ways to lift countries out of poverty: history proves that with all accuracy.

Let’s take the Netherlands, for example, which developed when its citizens became freer to trade in the 17th century; and my own country, Sweden, started 100 years of growth in the 1870s when we opened up for trade. And growth miracles are not just a thing of the past: in Korea and, right now, China, they would not have happened if those countries had integrated into the world economy, and that is actually what is the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) is all about. I would call it the crown jewel of European trade policy because it tries to link poor countries into the world economy and lift them out of poverty.

Many countries in the world have GSP programmes, but I believe that we in the European Union should be extra proud of our programme. It’s a very generous programme, in its terms, giving value and meaningful tariff cuts to the beneficiaries. It’s also extra generous to the poorest countries of the world that get duty-free, quota-free access to the European markets for everything but arms.

The best part of GSP, though, is the GSP+, which grants additional preferences to those countries that strive a little more and try to behave better by implementing, ratifying and making a reality of 27 international conventions on everything from governance to environment and labour rights. It is a tool to extra-incentivise countries, to make sure that they grow and develop in a way that is sustainable and from which all their citizens can benefit. It’s a way to make sure that good governance is respected.

We are now reaching the mid term of this programme and we are starting to see what can and should be improved, and this report reflects that.

Firstly, it needs to become easier for beneficiary countries to source inputs from other countries, and that will require changing rules of origin to get away from the ‘spaghetti bowl’ effect. This programme is about making it easier for countries to integrate into global value chains, not more difficult – as can sometimes be the effect of the current rules of origin.

Secondly, we should continually improve monitoring on the ground, and here everybody can help – civil society, the International Labour Organisation, relevant UN bodies, the Commission, Member States, embassies and others.

Thirdly, we should consider introducing services into the GSP, so that countries can diversify into those areas as well. There is a precedent for this with the Least-Developed Countries (LDC) Services Waiver.

This report represents the priorities for the programme – indicating how it should be even more development orientated – but there are voices which threaten that. The first such voices, I would say, are those seeking to place too many requirements on beneficiary countries. If we place too many requirements – on, for example, labour rights or environmental protection – on these countries they could risk facing the entire EU tariff wall, and that would harm the poorest. These countries are not Norway: if they were Norway they wouldn’t need this tool. After all, it’s better to be less poor and oppressed than being even poorer and more oppressed.

The second type of voice is a classic example of protectionism: of the fact that we are afraid of imports from poorer countries. And, sadly, I think the Commission’s decision to impose safeguard duties on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar is a step in that direction. This report does not reflect any of those fears and I sincerely hope that the next Parliament will deal with the next GSP programme without listening to the voices who threaten trade for development.


  Neven Mimica, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, let me first thank the European Parliament, the Committee on International Trade (INTA), the rapporteur, Mr Christofer Fjellner, and all the shadow rapporteurs for the attention, work and time that you have invested into this report on the implementation of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Regulation. It is a welcome initiative, as it comes at a moment when we are assessing the impact and effectiveness of the current GSP Regulation and what possible improvements we can bring to a successor GSP scheme.

The EU has had the GSP scheme since 1971. The primary objective, as set out in the WTO Enabling Clause, has always been to assist vulnerable developing countries in their efforts to reduce poverty and integrate into the world economy. The European Union’s GSP has undergone several transformations over the decades. A major reform of the GSP took place in 2012, with three main objectives: first, to contribute to poverty eradication by expanding exports from the countries most in need. This was done by substantially reducing the number of beneficiaries and focusing GSP preferences on the most vulnerable economies. Secondly, to promote sustainable development and good governance. We increased the attractiveness of GSP+ and enhanced the GSP+ monitoring of effective implementation of core international conventions related to human rights, labour rights, protection of the environment and good governance. Thirdly, to better protect the EU’s financial and economic interests. In this respect, the safeguard mechanism was overhauled to make it more accessible to EU industry.

We are now five years into the implementation of the GSP Regulation and I am pleased to note that overall, the European Parliament and the Commission share the assessment that the GSP Regulation is successful in meeting its objectives. Exports from the more vulnerable economies have expanded substantially, which can contribute to poverty eradication. GSP, and in particular GSP+, is also contributing positively to furthering human and labour rights in beneficiary countries. We agree with your view that trade policy, including GSP, must also be part of EU efforts to fight for values enshrined in the EU treaties, such as democracy, rule of law and human rights. Trade policy does not and cannot do this on its own or in isolation. We take great care to ensure coherence between all EU external policies. For example, we ensure that GSP+ dialogues and bilateral human rights dialogues with beneficiary countries reinforce each other, thus increasing the EU’s leverage to push for progress. As the Commission’s biannual reports on GSP+ implementation attest, we are seeing progress in all beneficiary countries. However, many problematic issues remain and we will continue to engage closely and firmly with beneficiary countries.

I would like to touch on an issue that is very important to us, namely, transparency in trade policy. In the implementation of the GSP Regulation, we make considerable efforts to ensure a transparent and inclusive process. We consult civil society in the European Union and in beneficiary countries on a very regular basis and we are always open to their input, which we greatly value. We do not always share their views on what course of action should be taken at a specific point in time, but this should not be taken to mean that we do not listen to civil society. Let me be very clear: the Commission will not hesitate to take its responsibilities when it comes to warranted cases of serious and systematic violation of fundamental rights. Our actions in relation to Cambodia and Myanmar clearly demonstrate this. In this respect, I agree with you that withdrawing GSP must be a last-resort measure.

We must now start work on the new GSP scheme that will take effect when the current one expires on 31 December 2023. As we have seen in the mid—term evaluation of the GSP Regulation, it is working well overall and this should be the starting point. Your report and resolution contains several proposals that we will examine carefully. The next immediate step in this process is to launch an impact assessment to help guide our work on a new GSP Regulation. This will include a wide-ranging public consultation. We count on working closely with you on this important endeavour.


  Brando Benifei, relatore per parere della commissione per gli affari esteri. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il rispetto dei diritti umani e della democrazia non può essere dato per scontato, ma va rafforzato con ogni mezzo a disposizione. L'Unione europea è il principale promotore dei diritti umani nel mondo e le sue politiche commerciali devono a loro volta garantirne l'affermazione.

Attraverso l'SPG+ l'UE consente ai paesi vulnerabili di esportare in Europa senza dazi doganali. In cambio, richiede il rispetto di 27 convenzioni internazionali su diritti umani, lavoro e ambiente. Credo che questo schema commerciale costituisca una leva importante per sostenere la democrazia e per migliorare la situazione dei diritti umani nei paesi beneficiari. In alcuni casi però, nonostante gravi violazioni, l'Unione europea non ha sospeso il trattamento preferenziale.

Risulta quindi necessario intensificare il processo di consultazione in merito al regolare monitoraggio dell'Unione europea degli Stati beneficiari e definire in maniera chiara quali sono le linee rosse dello schema che, se superate, comportano la sospensione dell'SPG.


  Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, en nombre del Grupo PPE. – Señora presidenta, la política comercial de la Unión Europea, a través del Sistema de Preferencias Generalizadas, fomenta el desarrollo sostenible y el respeto de los derechos humanos en los países con las economías más vulnerables del mundo.

Como refleja el informe de mi colega Fjellner, el SPG ha aportado beneficios económicos a los países beneficiarios, al aumentar sus exportaciones, y también a la Unión Europea. En general, se ha demostrado que el SPG desempeña un papel importante en la promoción de los derechos laborales internacionales, los derechos humanos, la buena gobernanza y las normas de protección del medio ambiente en los países beneficiarios.

Pero no debemos olvidar que, en algunos casos, este aumento de las exportaciones ha generado efectos no deseados para los derechos fundamentales y el desarrollo social. En ese sentido, me gustaría señalar que las preferencias comerciales deben ir acompañadas de la aplicación de los convenios internacionales y de reformas, a fin de evitar que los programas del SPG conlleven un aumento de los niveles de dumping ambiental y social.


  Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, en nombre del Grupo S&D. –Señora presidenta, gracias, señor comisario, y también quiero felicitar al ponente por su excelente trabajo. Defiendo profundamente el sistema de preferencias generalizadas porque es una herramienta fundamental de la política comercial para la promoción del desarrollo sostenible en los países menos avanzados.

Suprimir aranceles en estos países a cambio de promover la protección de los derechos humanos, laborales y medioambientales, así como el buen gobierno, sin duda alguna ha fomentado un empleo mejor y nos ha permitido luchar contra la lacra de la explotación infantil y contra la corrupción y ayudar a combatir la pobreza.

Pero, aun así, los avances no son suficientes y desgraciadamente estamos observando graves retrocesos en algunos países. Por ello, es fundamental la reforma y me congratulo de que vaya a ser receptivo a las propuestas que se incorporan en este informe. Porque es necesario reforzar la eficacia del sistema, el control de su implementación y asegurarse de que se retiran las concesiones como última solución en caso de violaciones graves de los compromisos asumidos.

También es necesario establecer obligaciones de diligencia debida y de transparencia a nuestras empresas porque no podemos permitir que se produzca en otros países menos avanzados —aprovechando las menores protecciones laborales y medioambientales— y luego se vendan esos productos en nuestros países a un arancel cero.

Y también creo que es muy importante incentivar a las empresas que (palabra inaudible) producen de manera sostenible. Mejoremos la regulación y profundicemos en un sistema que ha funcionado pero que necesita mejorar su implementación.


  Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, our GSP system is a key example of how we use our economic power to leverage our weight and to bring about positive change for people in third countries, and the report that we’re adopting today illustrates how GSP beneficiaries have, over the course of six years, substantially increased their exports to the EU. But this kind of preferential access should not be taken for granted. It is attached to clear conditions, for example when it comes to improving democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and following the increasingly repressive behaviour of Cambodian leader Hun Sen, Commissioner Malmström initiated a procedure to temporarily withdraw Cambodia’s trade preferences, under the Everything but Arms scheme, and this is a very welcome move, that should be echoed by all Member States’ Commissioners, as well as the High Representative in all their dealings with Cambodia. And at the same time we cannot wait another second to initiate a similar procedure for Myanmar. The ongoing killings, systematic human rights violations and the imprisonment of journalists, do not warrant the trade preferences that Myanmar currently does enjoy.

So, I believe it is very important that we use GSP in a good, but also principled, way and thereby maximise our global impact.


  Heidi Hautala, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) instrument has a great potential to ensure that trade and sustainable development are intrinsically linked. But the effectiveness of the GSP system has been put into question. It does not necessarily improve social and environmental conditions, it does not necessarily promote human rights. I believe that a black and white approach of withdrawing tariff preferences from a whole country also has not proved effective. We have examples such as Myanmar and Cambodia and I think the options have to be increased.

I believe that instead of a whole economy, the EU should be able to target certain economic sectors with GSP instruments. Moreover, it should be able to use targeted sanctions against companies that breach human rights or other obligations. So, we should be able to blacklist companies or exporters that are found guilty of abusing human rights. I’d like to ask the Commissioner: are you ready to establish a complaint mechanism for victims of European Union enterprises in the context of the GSP+?


  Helmut Scholz, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin! Lieber Kollege Fjellner, es geht nicht um Feihandel, es geht um fairen und ethischen Handel. Und ich denke, da malt Ihr Bericht zum APS doch ein zu positives Bild. Vor fünf Jahren waren bei der letzten großen Reform des APS—Systems trotz starker Kritik von meiner Fraktion und aus der Zivilgesellschaft alle Länder von der Präferenzliste gestrichen worden, die laut Weltbank ein mittleres Einkommen erreicht hatten. Vom APS+ profitieren heute gerade mal acht Länder. Das Flaggschiff unseres Präferenzsystems kommt also kaum zur Anwendung. So machen wir die Welt nicht besser.

Wir müssen das Kriterium „Armut“ ersetzen durch das Kriterium „Einhaltung der Menschenrechte“ für die Gewährung von Handelspräferenzen. Die Kommission muss zeigen, dass sie die Zollvergünstigungen auch entzieht, wenn gegen Menschenrechte verstoßen wird. Handeln Sie jetzt also, liebe Kommission, auch in den Fällen von Kambodscha und Myanmar. Beginnen Sie das Verfahren zu den Philippinen. Das Jahr 2022 ist das Verfallsdatum der aktuellen APS—Verordnung. Das heißt, die Reform gehört nach den Europawahlen für das neue Parlament und die neue Kommission ganz vorne auf die Liste der wichtigsten Aufgaben im Handelsbereich.


  Tiziana Beghin, a nome del gruppo EFDD. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, è essenziale usare il commercio per aiutare i paesi in via di sviluppo, ma dobbiamo anche proteggere le sensibilità europee ed impedire che si verifichi un nuovo caso come quello del riso asiatico.

Non è accettabile utilizzare i paesi poveri come enormi piantagioni agricole. Bisogna differenziare e creare lavoro locale, sviluppando servizi ed industria. Inoltre servono clausole sociali, perché non possiamo più permettere alle multinazionali europee di delocalizzare fuori dall'Europa per produrre dove si sfruttano i lavoratori per pochi euro al giorno.

Per questo, io sostengo l'idea di misure di salvaguardia non solo per i prodotti agricoli o industriali, ma anche per il rispetto dei diritti sociali ed ambientali. Dobbiamo però fare in modo che l'attivazione delle salvaguardie sia immediata. Nel caso del riso, ci sono voluti cinque anni. In futuro dovremo essere molto, ma molto, più veloci, oppure anche gli europei ne pagheranno le conseguenze.


  France Jamet, au nom du groupe ENF. – Madame la Présidente, mes chers collègues, cela fait 40 ans que nous accordons des préférences tarifaires aux pays en développement depuis la conférence de Lomé, soi-disant pour faciliter le développement par l’insertion des pays les plus pauvres dans le commerce mondial.

Quarante ans plus tard, l’échec est patent. Tous les indicateurs de développement montrent une stagnation, voire une régression sur tous les plans. Ce dispositif sert en fait de caution morale aux esclavagistes qui sévissent dans les pays en développement. Lors d’une réunion avec l’ambassade du Bangladesh, avec un étonnant relativisme, on nous a très sérieusement dit – après un énième incendie dans une usine chimique ayant occasionné des dizaines de morts – qu’il y avait des incendies partout dans le monde, y compris dans les pays les plus développés. Sur 1000 usines et entrepôts chimiques dans la capitale du Bangladesh, 850 sont illégaux et ne respectent aucune norme.

Les dirigeants peu scrupuleux de nombreux pays se jouent de nous et ne voient de ce système que l’argent qu’ils peuvent en soutirer. Ce système est donc coûteux, inefficace, quelquefois désastreux pour des hommes, des femmes et des enfants et leurs droits, et surtout économiquement absurde.


  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFDD). – Madam President, the Generalised Scheme of Preferences is one of three schemes that the EU offers to developing countries. It’s entirely sensible to encourage developing countries to integrate into world trade. I myself have stood on a manifesto calling for ‘trade, not aid’, and certainly the benefits that derive from trade are likely to last much longer than those that derive from aid. But – and it is a big but – the EU uses these schemes to advance its own political agenda.

This is not just me saying this. The EU itself, the Trade Commissioner and MEP colleagues, have been very clear, indeed transparent, about it. They have even been rather proud of it, as was Ms Schaake earlier, in a very good speech.

To give one example, Sri Lanka, never a rich country, suffered badly from the 2004 tsunami. Notwithstanding, the EU shortly afterwards withdrew the GSP+ scheme from Sri Lanka for entirely political reasons. In a word, that action was spiteful. It must not happen again.


  Danilo Oscar Lancini (ENF). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, le SPG rappresentano un abbattimento tariffario per i paesi in via di sviluppo, un aiuto che è concesso in cambio dell'impegno al raggiungimento di standard relativi a diritti umani e sviluppo sostenibile, poi spesso disattesi. Sono note le gravi mancanze dei meccanismi di gestione ambientale dei rifiuti provenienti dal comparto produttivo – soprattutto quello tessile – di questi paesi.

Mi preme sottolineare inoltre i danni e la distorsione che il mercato dell'Unione europea può subire dal riconoscimento di questi benefici. Infatti, benché esista una clausola di salvaguardia, questa risulta lenta e farraginosa da attivare. Ricordo il caso del riso proveniente da Myanmar e Cambogia, dove tale procedura è costata all'Italia danni ed un lavoro molto lungo: 5 anni.

Risultano inoltre molto complesse e poco trasparenti le procedure con cui l'elenco degli Stati che beneficiano di queste preferenze può subire variazioni, con aggiunte o espulsioni. Se l'Europa ha veramente intenzione di migliorare le condizioni dei suoi partner vicini e lontani e di supportarne lo sviluppo, ha bisogno di trovare coerenza. Non si possono imporre regole sempre più stringenti e penalizzanti per le nostre imprese e premiare chi non rispetta nemmeno i minimi standard ambientali e i diritti civili fuori dai confini dell'Europa.


Interventions à la demande


  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). –Κυρία Πρόεδρε, το σύστημα των γενικευμένων προτιμήσεων, με τη μείωση δασμών, προχώρησε προκειμένου, υποτίθεται, να στηριχθεί ο αναπτυσσόμενος κόσμος. Όμως, αυτό που είδαμε ήταν ότι κατά κύριο λόγο αξιοποιήθηκε από τις πολυεθνικές, οι οποίες με το outsourcing βρήκαν φτηνά εργατικά χέρια στον αναπτυσσόμενο κόσμο, εκεί όπου δεν τηρείται καμία προδιαγρaφή, ούτε για την προστασία της υγιεινής και της ασφάλειας των εργαζομένων, ούτε για μισθούς, ούτε, βέβαια, και τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα. Κι αυτό που πρακτικά συμβαίνει είναι να υπάρχει ένα κοινωνικό ντάμπινγκ. Ουσιαστικά παράγονται φτηνά προϊόντα μέσα στις αναπτυσσόμενες χώρες, τα οποία εισάγονται χωρίς δασμούς στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και στους υπόλοιπους, με αποτέλεσμα να δημιουργείται έτσι και ένας αθέμιτος ανταγωνισμός. Άρα, επί του πρακτέου, όλο αυτό το σύστημα αντί να βοηθήσει τους ίδιους τους εργαζομένους, επί της ουσίας τους έχει μετατρέψει σε ακόμα σε πιο φτωχούς στις αναπτυσσόμενες χώρες και το μόνο που έχει κάνει είναι να αυξάνει τα κέρδη των πολυεθνικών εις βάρος και των εργαζομένων και των μικρομεσαίων επιχειρήσεων της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.


(Fin des interventions à la demande)


  Neven Mimica, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, thank you for the comments and input during this debate. We remain firmly committed to trade policy contributing, together with other EU policies, to championing respect for universal and fundamental values. In this respect, GSP is an important trade policy tool, designed for developing countries. By helping to expand exports from beneficiary countries, it has contributed to bringing millions out of poverty. It is also contributing to furthering human rights and sustainable development. The Commission, together with the European External Action Service, will continue to monitor closely, and engage firmly, with beneficiary countries. We will also start examining what improvements can be brought to a new GSP Regulation, including many of your clear proposals and requests, so that it can continue to be a force for good. We look forward to working with the European Parliament on this high—priority EU trade policy file.


  Christofer Fjellner, Rapporteur. – Madam President, I’d like to thank the Commissioner and to thank my colleagues for a good debate. I see two main trends in this debate.

First, we have those who say we are not seeing the kind of development we want. I urge them – those who claim that we have stagnation, that we don’t have development of poor countries – actually to read the statistics. The fact of the matter is that we’ve never, ever in the history of mankind, had so few people in absolute poverty And there is no causal link to aid, should anybody look for that. The only causal link we can find is with integration into the world economy and, to some extent, with governance. Both of these are things we are addressing with precisely this tool.

The second area, on which we have had long discussions, time and time again, in the committee, is the question of what we do with those that don’t behave. There are people here who give the impression that we don’t do anything, but that’s not true. First of all, Sri Lanka is one example of the fact that that you do actually lose your preference if you don’t behave, and what we now are doing with Myanmar is also a proof of that.

However, we have to remember one thing: when countries are kicked out of the system, the system doesn’t deliver anymore. This is, to some extent, a question about what we see and what we don’t see. We see, in the history books, things that happen, but we never see things that do not happen – as the result of dialogue, of pressure or of this tool. I would claim that we’ve improved livelihoods, and the situation in terms of observance of human rights, for millions throughout this world by stopping things from happening, because people want to stay in the system. If we kick people out too quickly we lose that possibility.

Therefore, I urge my colleagues, let’s be tough, let’s strengthen monitoring, but let’s not punish those already oppressed by making them poorer and kicking them out before we’ve used every trick in this regulation to pressure those governments that are behaving badly into behaving better.


  La Présidente. – Le débat est clos.

Le vote aura lieu jeudi 14 mars 2019.

Última actualização: 8 de Julho de 2019Aviso legal - Política de privacidade