New EU scheme of generalised preferences

Briefing 11-01-2022

On 21 September 2021, the Commission published its proposal for a new EU scheme of generalised preferences. Two of the current scheme’s three components are due to expire at the end of 2023, which would deprive developing countries of a vital opportunity to trade under preferential terms with the EU. Therefore, renewing the scheme appears to be both a necessity and an opportunity to strengthen its conditionality in the light of lessons learned and the increased urgency for dealing with the climate. The Commission considers that the scheme has delivered on its objectives, and proposes some ‘fine-tuning’. To ensure that its benefits remain broadly shared, it proposes changes to the economic vulnerability criteria for GSP+ and to the product graduation threshold for Standard GSP. Taking on board proposals from civil society, but also from the Parliament, the Commission proposes to extend negative conditionality to environmental and good governance conventions, and to improve monitoring and stakeholders’ involvement overall. Civil society organisations and other stakeholders have put forward some more ambitious proposals, such as making the monitoring fully transparent and rewarding countries that fulfil jointly agreed benchmarks related to the conventions under the GSP with additional preferences. First edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.