The Commission proposal on reforming the Generalised Scheme of Tariff Preferences: analysis of human rights incentives and conditionalities

In-Depth Analysis 26-01-2022

This study looks at the European Commission’s proposal for a new GSP Regulation from human rights and sustainable development perspectives. It focuses on proposed changes to the conditionality provisions with their linked monitoring and dialogue processes that aim to promote human rights, sustainable development and good governance in the beneficiary countries. The Commission’s proposal is not revolutionary as it foresees retention of the three existing arrangements (Standard GSP, GSP+ and EBA). However, a limited set of targeted amendments were introduced not only to improve this scheme’s response to the evolving needs and challenges of GSP countries but also to reinforce its human rights, labour, environmental and climate dimensions. This In-Depth Analysis provides a detailed examination of these proposed changes to the GSP regulation and formulates various recommendations to strengthen the GSP as a tool for promoting human rights, sustainable development and good governance. It is argued that positive conditionality should be extended to Standard GSP beneficiaries based on a differentiated and staged approach. Moreover, several innovations and amendments need to be clarified, made more ambitious and legally enshrined in the GSP Regulation or other legal acts.