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Andean Community | Brussels, 19 March 2013

Termination of GSP+ investigation on Bolivia

What is GSP? What is GSP+?

The Generalised Scheme of Preferences or GSP is a scheme by which the European Union grants tariff reductions to developing countries. The scheme is unilateral, which means that the EU does not require the beneficiary countries to grant reductions from their side. The scheme falls under the purview of the WTO.

The GSP provides different kinds of tariff preferences, according to each country's needs:

  1. Generous duty reductions for about two thirds of all EU tariff lines for beneficiaries in general. This is the so called “general scheme”.
  2.  Zero duties for essentially the same tariff lines for countries which implement core human rights, labour rights and other sustainable development conventions (“GSP+”).
  3. Full duty free, quota free access for all products except arms (Everything But Arms, or “EBA”) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The GSP+ investigation on Bolivia

Bolivia is a GSP+ beneficiary. GSP+ is granted to countries which comply with and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights and sustainable development. In 2011, GSP+ helped Bolivia export goods worth more than €45 million.
With effect as of 1 January 2012, Bolivia 'denounced' i.e. withdrew from one of the 27 conventions, the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (‘the Convention’), requesting immediately to re-accede to the Convention with a reservation which would allow the traditional use of the coca leaf.

On 20 March 2012, the European Commission initiated an investigation to assess the effects of Bolivia’s withdrawal with its compliance with the GSP+ requirements under the EU’s law (Council Regulation (EC) No. 732/2008). During the twelve month investigation Bolivia continued to benefit from GSP+ preferences.

The investigation’s findings

The European Commission’s investigation revealed that, following withdrawal from the Convention, Bolivia still incorporated the relevant provisions of the Convention into its national legislation and that there had been no weakening in their effective implementation.

On 10 January 2013, Bolivia's request to re-accede the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was accepted and, according to its procedural rules, Bolivia is once again party to the Convention as of 10 February 2013.

The termination of the investigation

Since Bolivia is party to and effectively implements the Convention, the European Commission decided to terminate the investigation. As a result, Bolivia maintains its GSP+ status.

The legal texts explaining the content and the procedure of the investigation have been published today, 19 March 2013, and can be found at: