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About GSP

The EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) was first introduced in 1971, with the EU playing a leading role in establishing a policy of unilateral trade preferences for poverty reduction and development that has since been mirrored by most industrialised economies. Over time, the GSP has emerged as a core pillar of the EU’s commitment to the role of trade in sustainable development.

The modern GSP categorises three tiers of tariff preferences and commitments based on a beneficiary country’s level of development. Under the general GSP arrangement, eligible beneficiaries receive duty reductions on 66% of tariff lines imported into the EU. The second arrangement, GSP+, provides the incentive for developing countries to benefit from zero duties on 66% of tariff lines contingent on implementation of core human rights, labour, governance, and other sustainable development conventions. Finally, the Everything but Arms (EBA) arrangement provides duty free access for imports from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), except weapons.

More than 200€ billion worth of goods were sold in the EU in 2018 under the GSP, benefitting EU importers and beneficiary country exporters alike


  • EBA is a  special arrangement for LDC’s as classified by the United Nations.


Duty reduction 

  • This arrangement allows duty-free and quota-free access for all products (around 7,200), originating in LDC’s, except for arms and ammunition.



  • Different from Standard GSP and GSP+, LDC’s are not excluded from the scheme if they benefit from other preferential arrangements and a graduation mechanism for individual products does not apply.
  • LDC’s leave the arrangement when they lose their status as ‘Least Developed Country’ as defined by the United Nations, but only after a three year transition period.


Enhanced Engagement 

  • The EU has intensified its engagement with three EBA beneficiaries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Myanmar) 
  • This enhanced engagement includes a systematic approach to address concerns with regard to fundamental human rights as well as labour rights 
  • On 12 February 2020, the EU Commission decided to temporary withdraw part of the preferences from Cambodia due to continuous human rights abuses.