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The Generalised Scheme of Preferences Regulation (No 978/2012): European Implementation Assessment

19-12-2018

This evaluation of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) focuses on the incentives in the GSP provisions that aim to push beneficiaries to comply with human rights and the extent to which these have been implemented and have had an impact on poverty reduction and good governance. The annexed economic evaluation of the GSP Regulation examines three inter-related questions: how beneficiaries have graduated from the GSP and what role preferences have played; how trade relations between the ...

This evaluation of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) focuses on the incentives in the GSP provisions that aim to push beneficiaries to comply with human rights and the extent to which these have been implemented and have had an impact on poverty reduction and good governance. The annexed economic evaluation of the GSP Regulation examines three inter-related questions: how beneficiaries have graduated from the GSP and what role preferences have played; how trade relations between the countries that have recently graduated from the GSP and those that still benefit from it are affected; and what the impact of changes in the rules of origin has been.

Human rights in EU trade policy: Unilateral measures applied by the EU

30-05-2018

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic ...

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic violations of core human rights or labour rights norms. A special incentive arrangement under the GSP grants further tariff concessions to countries that ratify and implement a series of international conventions. Based on systematic monitoring by the European Commission, this special scheme is the most comprehensive and detailed human rights mechanism established in the framework of the common commercial policy. While the scheme has been particularly effective in encouraging beneficiary countries to make the necessary legislative and institutional changes, such progress has not been matched at the level of implementation. Suspension of preferences under GSP has been applied in only a few cases and, when it was, did not have an immediate and clear impact on the human rights situation. In practice, the EU has privileged a strategy of incentivising gradual progress through dialogue and monitoring, rather than withdrawing preferences. The EU's unilateral trade measures to protect human rights are not limited to the GSP. The EU has taken steps to prohibit or limit trade in items that could cause human rights violations, such as torture and execution equipment, and dual use goods. New legislation has recently been adopted on conflict minerals, and the European Parliament has called for a proposal for legislation to ban the import of goods produced using child labour. This is an updated edition of a briefing published in January 2017: PE 595.878.

EU aid for trade: Taking stock and looking forward

17-04-2018

Representing a third of global official development aid flows annually, aid for trade (AfT) has been on the rise. AfT has a very broad scope that includes projects ranging from building roads and modernising ports, to developing the banking sector, helping local food producers to comply with phytosanitary standards and providing more specific trade-related assistance, such as technical support in trade negotiations. Today, more than a decade after the launch in 2006 of the World Trade Organization's ...

Representing a third of global official development aid flows annually, aid for trade (AfT) has been on the rise. AfT has a very broad scope that includes projects ranging from building roads and modernising ports, to developing the banking sector, helping local food producers to comply with phytosanitary standards and providing more specific trade-related assistance, such as technical support in trade negotiations. Today, more than a decade after the launch in 2006 of the World Trade Organization's AfT initiative, which established a common framework for action, most commentators agree that AfT investments have helped developing – especially Asian – countries, to improve and diversify their export and trade performance. However, its impact on poverty reduction has been much less clear. The evaluation of AfT is done in a fragmented manner, which makes the exercise quite tricky, leaving space for very divergent opinions. The EU is a world leader in AfT, both in terms of volume and in policy formulation. Adopted in 2007, the EU Aid for trade strategy helped to link the Union's development and trade agendas, often perceived as incompatible, and complemented the EU's preferential trade schemes for developing countries. The 2017 strategy update, after the introduction of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals and the new European consensus on development, was an opportunity to consider the future direction of AfT and reflect on its effectiveness. The EU reaffirmed its commitments to AfT, while putting more emphasis on bridging the digital gap, empowering women and improving the situation of the least developed countries in global trade systems.

The impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on developing countries

22-02-2018

Being the biggest world agri-food importer and exporter, the European Union plays an important role in international agricultural markets. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has considerable influence on international agri-food market. With the CAP 2014-2020, the distortive effect of the policy have been dramatically reduced. However, voluntary coupled support are a matter of concern. Following the 20142020 CAP, Member States may grant voluntary coupled support (VCS) to specific sectors undergoing ...

Being the biggest world agri-food importer and exporter, the European Union plays an important role in international agricultural markets. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has considerable influence on international agri-food market. With the CAP 2014-2020, the distortive effect of the policy have been dramatically reduced. However, voluntary coupled support are a matter of concern. Following the 20142020 CAP, Member States may grant voluntary coupled support (VCS) to specific sectors undergoing difficulties. All Member States expects Germany have opted to apply VCs in some sectors and this generated market distortions both in the internal and in the international marketplace. Another feature of the 2014-2020 CAP is its competitive -oriented approach. Increased competition can boost agricultural development of non -EU countries but can also imply risks for sustainable development and food security. Growing demand supported by the CAP can also have a negative environmental impact. Therefore there are concerns about the coherence of the CAP support with environmental and climate objectives. Although the 2014-2020 CAP made progress towards ensuring policy coherence, more has to be made in the future CAP reform, particularly with reference to international commitment on climate change. Market distorting effects of some CAP instruments shall also be reconsidered.

Development Cooperation Instrument

13-10-2017

The Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) is the main financial instrument in the EU budget for funding aid to developing countries, and as such complements the European Development Fund, which is outside the EU budget. The primary objective of the DCI is to alleviate poverty, but it also contributes to other international priorities of the EU such as the UN's post-2015 Development Agenda; sustainable economic, social and environmental development; and the promotion of democracy, the rule of law ...

The Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) is the main financial instrument in the EU budget for funding aid to developing countries, and as such complements the European Development Fund, which is outside the EU budget. The primary objective of the DCI is to alleviate poverty, but it also contributes to other international priorities of the EU such as the UN's post-2015 Development Agenda; sustainable economic, social and environmental development; and the promotion of democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.

'Global Trends to 2035' Geo-politics and international power

20-09-2017

This study considers eight economic, societal, and political global trends that will shape the world to 2035, namely an ageing population, fragile globalisation, a technological revolution, climate change, shifting power relations, new areas of state competition, politics of the information age and ecological threats. It first examines how they may affect some of the fundamental assumptions of the international system. Then it considers four scenarios based on two factors: an unstable or stable Europe ...

This study considers eight economic, societal, and political global trends that will shape the world to 2035, namely an ageing population, fragile globalisation, a technological revolution, climate change, shifting power relations, new areas of state competition, politics of the information age and ecological threats. It first examines how they may affect some of the fundamental assumptions of the international system. Then it considers four scenarios based on two factors: an unstable or stable Europe and world. Finally, it presents policy options for the EU to address the challenges created by these trends.

China, the 16+1 cooperation format and the EU

01-03-2017

The 16+1 sub-regional cooperation format brings together China and 16 central and eastern European countries (CEECs), consisting of 11 EU Member States and five EU candidate countries. The format is controversial, given the concerns expressed about arrangements made under its umbrella being in conflict with EU law and about a perceived erosion of EU norms, values and unity. Nearly five years on from its creation, mutually satisfactory results still lag behind expectations.

The 16+1 sub-regional cooperation format brings together China and 16 central and eastern European countries (CEECs), consisting of 11 EU Member States and five EU candidate countries. The format is controversial, given the concerns expressed about arrangements made under its umbrella being in conflict with EU law and about a perceived erosion of EU norms, values and unity. Nearly five years on from its creation, mutually satisfactory results still lag behind expectations.

Impacts of the CETA Agreement on Developing Countries

16-02-2017

With the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations concluded and subsequently signed by both parties, the European Union and Canada’s most progressive trade agreement to date is set to provisionally enter into force soon. However, as developed countries move to negotiate preferential trade agreements between themselves (like the CETA), extending beyond current multilateral trade obligations, the improved market access, trade harmonisation and cross-cutting issues included in ...

With the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations concluded and subsequently signed by both parties, the European Union and Canada’s most progressive trade agreement to date is set to provisionally enter into force soon. However, as developed countries move to negotiate preferential trade agreements between themselves (like the CETA), extending beyond current multilateral trade obligations, the improved market access, trade harmonisation and cross-cutting issues included in the agreements can have a much wider impact, affecting countries not party to them. As far as CETA is concerned, in our judgement those impacts are likely to be relatively small, and confined to a small group of vulnerable states, especially those with concentrated export structures, and notably of primary products in direct competition with Canadian exports to the EU. However, given the limitations of this paper the conclusion is fairly speculative, and so a key recommendation is that more detailed analysis of potentially vulnerable exporters be conducted to narrow down a subsequent mitigation strategy. That mitigation strategy mainly revolves around the impact of non-tariff measures (NTMs), focusing on product standards, and Rules of Origin. Essentially the focus needs to be on a targeted development assistance package referencing the need to upgrade product standards capacities in vulnerable states, in order to maximise the potential of trade to contribute to economic growth and, thereby, poverty reduction.

Addressing Developing Countries’ Challenges in Free Trade Implementation

02-02-2017

The present study places the potential effects of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) liberalisation on government revenue in signatory states within the broader context of regional integration and global liberalisation. Based on a review of the secondary literature it finds that the revenue effect may be severe in some, but by no means all, cases and that the forecasts now need to be updated by country-level studies using the details of liberalisation schedules actually agreed. The evidence also ...

The present study places the potential effects of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) liberalisation on government revenue in signatory states within the broader context of regional integration and global liberalisation. Based on a review of the secondary literature it finds that the revenue effect may be severe in some, but by no means all, cases and that the forecasts now need to be updated by country-level studies using the details of liberalisation schedules actually agreed. The evidence also suggests that poor countries find it very hard to replace government revenue lost through liberalisation but that where there have been successes the measures taken include those needed to increase any gains from regional and global trade integration. Such reforms require sustained commitment (by donors and recipients) over many years. The stresses created by EPAs (and regional liberalisation) increase the need for such commitment; but they also offer an opportunity since they include an appropriate framework for providing appropriate assistance. Yet data on flows of aid for trade do not indicate that an adequate commitment has yet been made. Six recommendations are made on actions that the European Parliament might champion to reduce the risks of an ‘EPA revenue squeeze’ in ways that support recipients’ capacity to benefit from greater regional and global integration.

Human rights in EU trade policy: Unilateral measures

12-01-2017

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic ...

Protection of human rights is one of the EU's overarching objectives in its external action, in line with the Treaty on European Union. One of the EU's main tools to promote human rights in third countries is the generalised system of preferences (GSP), granting certain developing countries preferential trade access to the EU market. Covering 90 third countries, the scheme includes explicit human rights conditionality, providing that preferences can be withdrawn in case of massive and systematic violations of core human rights or labour rights norms. A special incentive arrangement grants further tariff concessions to countries that ratify and implement a series of international conventions. Based on systematic monitoring by the European Commission, this is the most comprehensive and detailed human rights mechanism established in the framework of EU common commercial policy. In practice, the EU has privileged a strategy of incentivising gradual progress through dialogue and monitoring, rather than withdrawing preferences. Suspension of preferences under GSP is rarely applied and, when it is, it does not have an immediate and clear impact. The EU's unilateral trade measures to protect human rights are not limited to the GSP. The EU has taken steps to prohibit or limit trade in items that could cause human rights violations, such as torture and execution items, or dual use goods. New legislation is being considered on conflict minerals, and the European Parliament has asked for a proposal for legislation to ban the import of goods produced using child labour. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

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