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Procedure : 2010/2594(RSP)
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PV 09/03/2010 - 16
CRE 09/03/2010 - 16

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PV 10/03/2010 - 7.8
CRE 10/03/2010 - 7.8
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Wednesday, 10 March 2010 - Strasbourg
Regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences

European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and in particular the 1979 ‘enabling clause’,

–   having regard to its legislative resolution of 5 June 2008 on the proposal for a Council regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences for the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011 (2007/0289(CNS)),

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 of 22 July 2008,

–   having regard to Chapter 1 of Title V of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–   having regard to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the ‘enabling clause’ is the WTO legal basis for the generalised system of preferences (GSP),

B.   whereas, since 1971, the Community has granted trade preferences to developing countries, within its scheme of generalised tariff preferences,

C.   whereas Parliament was consulted on the Commission proposal for a Council regulation on GSP for the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011 (COM(2007)0857),

D.   whereas the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009,

E.   whereas, pursuant to Chapter 1 of Title V TEU, the Union's action on the international scene must be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and must foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty,

F.   whereas, pursuant to Article 207 TFEU, Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (OLP), must adopt the measures defining the framework for implementing the common commercial policy,

1.  Recognises the importance of the GSP, which allows developed countries to offer non-reciprocal preferential treatment in respect of products originating in developing countries;

2.  Points out that the creation of the GSP by the European Community in 1971 was explained as being an instrument for resolving trade imbalances between developed and developing countries and was expected to contribute to their sustainable development; considers that it has been an EC and EU trade instrument to assist developing countries by generating revenue through international trade, thus contributing to their sustainable development and good governance;

3.  Notes that the current GSP regulation will expire on 31 December 2011; therefore, taking into account the time necessary for the adoption of a new regulation under the OLP, calls on the Commission to propose a revised GSP regulation to the European Parliament and the Council by 1 June 2010;

4.  Considers that the preferences granted under the GSP should be targeted on the developing countries that need them most, so that the new list of beneficiary countries should reflect the actual economic situation of developing countries;

5.  Stresses that all countries benefiting from the GSP+ scheme should, under Article 15(1), not only ratify but also effectively implement all 27 ILO and UN conventions listed in Annex III to the GSP Regulation;

6.  Stresses the need for more transparency and democratic accountability on how the investigation processes are initiated and conducted; therefore asks to be fully informed and adequately involved by the Commission at all the various stages of GSP and GSP+ procedures, including with regard to the Council proposal on the lists of beneficiary countries;

7.  Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the situation in Sri Lanka and on the Sri Lankan Government to quickly react to normalise the situation in the country before the actual implementation of the suspension of GSP+;

8.  Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the human rights situation in Colombia and to report to Parliament;

9.  Calls on the Commission to pursue a coherent policy on GSP+, particularly when addressing possible suspension of the scheme in the event of human rights violations, and to fully involve Parliament in the process;

10.  Urges the Commission to submit to the European Parliament and the Council - before the present regulation ceases to apply and in time for discussion of the next regulation - a report on the state of ratification and implementation of the 27 conventions by each country benefiting from the special incentive arrangements; calls on the Commission to define, in its revised GSP regulation, the monitoring bodies which are to recommend whether additional steps for the effective implementation of a convention should be taken by a specific country; states that, in that report, the Commission must also evaluate the effectiveness of the special incentive arrangements in fulfilling their aim and recommend, where appropriate, revision of Annex III;

11.  Asks the Commission to make provision in its revised GSP regulation for a regular assessment of compliance by each beneficiary country with its commitments under GSP+, and thus ensure that none of the reasons set out in Article 15(1) and (2) and Article 16(1) and (2) for the temporary withdrawal of preferential arrangements applies; calls for that annual report to be sent to Parliament and the Council;

12.  Calls on the Commission, before it revises the system, to conduct an impact assessment of the effects of the GSP over the period from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2009 and to evaluate how its initial aims have been met as regards the specific socio-economic indicators relevant for each country, and, in particular, poverty reduction; states that the study must subsequently be submitted to Parliament and the Council; states that the new proposal for a revised GSP regulation must duly take into consideration the results of the impact assessment;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

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