November 02, 2012 09:14
EU to strip Russia, some other countries of preferential import tariffs
BRUSSELS. Nov 2 (Interfax) - The European Union has revised the list of countries eligible for lower or zero import tariffs extended to stimulate development in dozens of countries, the European Commission said on Thursday.
The revised Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which goes into effect January 1, 2014, excludes countries that have been listed by the World Bank as high or upper middle income for the past three years based on per capita GDP.
The first category includes seven countries: Bahrain, Brunei, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the Macau Special Administrative Region.
The second includes Russia, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Venezuela, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Libya, Malaysia, Republic of Palau and Uruguay.
The new list of beneficiaries includes 89 countries that the EU believes are most in need. They include 40 low and lower middle income countries, including India, China, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Iran and Syria.
Forty-nine least developed countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Caribbean basin will be eligible for what the EU calls the "everything but arms" arrangement, which grants duty-free access to imports of all products except arms and ammunition.
Another two categories of countries will be subject to special conditions related to local trade legislation and previously signed free trade agreements with the EU.
"I am delighted that EU Member States and Members of the European Parliament have backed the Commission's proposal to make our preferential import scheme more effective. It was an important recognition that key developing economies have become globally competitive. This now allows us to tailor our pro-development trade scheme to give the countries still lagging behind some additional breathing space and support," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in an EC press release.
The EC also said that "more support will be provided to countries which are serious about implementing international human rights, labour rights and environment and good governance conventions."
The current GSP scheme will remain valid until January 1, 2014 to give economic operators time to adapt to the revised regime, the EC said.
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