EU cuts GSP beneficiary countries to 89 from 176
Bangladesh will be benefited, say expertsStaff Correspondent
The European Union on Wednesday issued its revised import preference scheme, known as the Generalised Scheme of Preference, for developing countries reducing the number of beneficiary countries to 89 from 176.
The new scheme will be effective from January 1, 2014, European Commission in Dhaka said in a statement on the day.
Experts said Bangladesh would be benefited both directly and indirectly because of reduction of beneficiary countries from GSP facilities in EU market as some of the excluded countries were competitive for Bangladesh.
‘Bangladesh will be benefited indirectly from the new GSP as some competitive countries for Bangladesh such as Malaysia have been excluded from the list of beneficiary countries,’ Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman told New Age.
The new scheme has also withdrawn the ceiling of export of any particular products to the EU markets which will also benefit Bangladeshi exporters, he said.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Siddiqur Rahman said Bangladesh would be benefited from the reduction of the GSP facility receiving countries.
Some of the competitive countries for Bangladesh have been excluded from the list which will reduce competitive pressure for exporters, he said.
Following agreement with the Council and the European Parliament, the revised GSP decision contains the specific tariff preferences granted under the GSP in the form of reduced or zero tariff rates and the final criteria which will benefit developing countries, said the Dhaka office of European Commission.
Reducing the GSP to fewer beneficiaries will reduce competitive pressure and make the preferences for LDCs more meaningful–providing for new opportunities to export. The new GSP incorporates a wider though limited expansion in products and preference margins mainly dealing with raw materials, the statement said.
These products have been carefully selected to avoid negative impacts on the poorest (LDCs), which already have duty free, quota free access for all products, it added.
‘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,’ said EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.
Currently, 176 developing countries and territories have preferential access to the EU. The new scheme will be focused in fewer beneficiaries to ensure more impact on countries most in need.
Under the new scheme, 49 least developed countries including Bangladesh, and 40 low and lower middle income countries including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will have preferential access to the EU.
The LDCs will continue to enjoy, without any change, the open-ended Everything But Arms scheme. The LDCs will also continue to benefit from the recently amended, more favourable, GSP Rules of Origin Under the new GSP, the effectiveness of the EBA scheme will be strengthened, the statement said.
As much as 95 per cent of Bangladesh’s exports to EU receive duty free access under GSP and the exports to EU reached a record 8.5 billion euro in 2011, compared to 6.6 billion euro in 2010, it added.
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