EU report highlights broad benefits of Generalized Scheme of Preferences

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A new EU report has highlighted the positive impact the Generalized Scheme of Preferences is having in promoting economic development and human rights.

The European Union has published a new report highlighting the benefits its duty-rebate schemes are delivering for developing economies.

An analysis of the impact of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) since its introduction in 2014 has been compiled by the European Commission and the European External Action Service, in order to showcase how these trade reforms have served to aid economic development and human rights in many parts of the world.

GSP is designed to grant privileged access to the EU market for beneficiary countries by reducing EU import duties, removing customs duties for two-thirds of products coming from a number of vulnerable countries with strong commitments to human rights and environmental protection, and scrapping duties for nearly all products coming from 49 least-developed countries.

As a consequence, exports from beneficiary countries to the EU have risen by nearly one-quarter to an annual total of €63 billion. The margin of increase for least-developed countries reached almost 40 percent, resulting in an export value for €23.5 billion in 2016.

Additionally, this has led to significant progress on issues such as women's empowerment, forced labor, human rights violations, illegal drug trafficking, and climate change, suggesting that GSP is delivering progressive ethical gains in addition to economic improvements.

European commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom said: "Our policies offer generous access to the EU market, coupled with strong engagement with national authorities. We're now seeing positive changes in many places around the world - strengthening core values of EU trade policy such as human rights and sustainable development. Stronger domestic institutions and laws are helping to put crucial international conventions into place."