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Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)

A new Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) (Regulation (EU) 978/2012) started to apply on 1 January 2014 in the European Union.

The objectives of the EU's new GSP scheme are:

  • to focus help on countries which are more in need of trade preferences;
  • to strengthen GSP+ as an incentive to good governance and sustainable development; and
  • to make the Scheme more transparent, stable and predictable.

The three arrangements of the scheme (the overall GSP scheme, the "GSP+" incentive scheme for the respect of core human and labour rights, environmental and good governance standards, and the "Everything but Arms" scheme for least developed countries) are reinforced, by re-adjusting the preferences and ensuring they have a higher impact.

GSP eligible countries are listed in Annex I of the GSP Regulation. Countries which benefit from the new GSP preferences are listed in Annex II. Beneficiaries of Everything but Arms are listed in Annex IV. Products/sectors which do not benefit from preferences during the period 2014-2016 are listed here.

How to apply for the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, GSP+, is defined in Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 155/2013.

Check the list of countries and their rules of origin to see whether your country benefits from preferential EU market access.

Note that there are basic differences in the GSP schemes offered by different donor countries. Goods complying with the conditions of the USA GSP rules of origin, for example, will not necessarily comply with the EU GSP rules of origin.

Not all countries listed as beneficiaries may actually qualify. Belarus, for example, is temporarily suspended from the GSP. If in doubt, contact your customs authorities.