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Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) 27 march 2010 - 31 may 2010

Public consultation on next GSP scheme

This page describes past events and is no longer updated.

This issues paper is provided for the purposes of a public consultation exercise on the revision and updating of the European Union’s scheme of Generalised System of Preferences (the GSP scheme).

This scheme presently operates on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 of 22 July 2008 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences for the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011 (OJ L211, 6.8.2008). The GSP scheme is an important element in the EU's active support for the sustainable development of developing countries. Preferential access to the EU market under the scheme supports developing countries in their own efforts to reduce poverty and promote good governance and sustainable development by helping them generate additional revenue through international trade, which can then be re-invested in their own development.

The present GSP Regulation expires on 31 December 2011. In the absence of new legislative action to provide for the maintenance of GSP beyond that point, imports from developing countries under the scheme would revert to standard MFN treatment, except for those from LDC's which would still be covered by the open-ended Everything But Arms (EBA) regime. The purpose of the present consultation exercise is to seek comments from interested parties as inputs to the Commission's work to prepare a future proposal to the Council and Parliament on a successor Regulation. The future Commission proposal should take appropriately into account all relevant considerations on the effectiveness of the current GSP in achieving its objectives and incorporate such amendments to the scheme as would ensure its continued effectiveness in the future.

Following entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, measures defining the framework of the common commercial policy are now to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council acting jointly under the ordinary legislative procedure (previously, GSP Regulations were decided by the Council alone). The duration of the legislative process on a successor GSP Regulation cannot be predicted with certainty. But it is already clear that the remaining period of application of the current GSP Regulation until 31 December 2011 is insufficient to permit the preparation of a substantive Commission proposal for a successor Regulation, for the Council and Parliament to reach agreement on a new Regulation through the Ordinary Legislative Procedure and for affected parties, including economic actors and beneficiary countries, to be given adequate advance notice of any changes before their entry into force. Consequently, in order to ensure continuity in the operation of the scheme beyond 31 December 2011 until such time as a successor Regulation is ready, the Commission intends to propose to the Council and Parliament a time-limited extension of the current Regulation so as to create sufficient space in which to decide on a new Regulation.