Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP): an efficient and renewed instrument that takes into account human rights, labour rights and environmental standards in developing countries

Author: Jennifer Emilie Richard

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Renew Europe welcomes the vote on the regulation reviewing the Generalised Scheme of Preferences today in the committee on International trade (INTA). The Inter-institutional negotiations will be the next step, and our Group looks forward to discussing this file with the Council and the Commission.

This trade instrument, created over 40 years ago, aims to help developing countries eradicate poverty, create jobs and diversify their own economy. Renew Europe is attached to the EU sustainable development policy and believes that the EU should support those countries. Trade is an excellent way to do so and is one of the keys to third countries’ prosperity.

Renew Europe champions a renewed Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) which takes into account the current challenges the world is facing, such as respect for human rights, labour rights and mitigating climate change. For example, Renew Europe supports the adding of some additional international conventions and instruments that GSP+ beneficiary countries have to ratify and implement. Improving the monitoring of compliance and streamline the procedures is key. With the present review, the GSP regulation will be more effective and adapted to modern time. The new instrument will be in place for the next ten years.

Jordi Cañas (Spain, Ciudadanos), Renew Europe shadow rapporteur on this file, declared: "Thanks to the revised GSP Regulation, the EU will continue fostering trade relations with developing countries and contributing to their social and economic development for the benefit of both sides, while ensuring the compliance of beneficiary countries with good governance, labour, environmental and human rights obligations. I also insisted that the GSP Regulation should also facilitate the socio-economic and environmental conditions needed to progressively achieve reciprocity in production standards by the beneficiary countries in the long term".

Samira Rafaela (Netherlands, D66), Renew Europe coordinator of INTA committee, added: "With the adoption of the review of the GSP, Parliament reaffirms its commitment to ensuring sustainable economic development worldwide. With the updated GSP, the EU underlines its commitment to green and fair trade by strengthening commitments to human rights and the fight against climate change. Through GSP, EU trade relations with developing countries can bring benefits for their position in the global trading system, most notably for the socio-economic position of women and girls worldwide."