Skip to main content

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


  • The General GSP targets developing countries that are classified by the World Bank as lower or lower-middle income countries and do not have a preferential access to the EU market through another arrangement 


Duty Reduction 

  • General GSP beneficiary countries can benefit from duty suspension for non-sensitive products and duty reductions (3.5 percentage points) for sensitive products across approximately 66 per cent of all EU tariff lines 


Graduation Mechanism 

  • A beneficiary country ceases to benefit from preferential market access for a specific product group if EU imports of such products become too competitive and exceed the threshold of 57% (Textiles: 47.2%, Plants/Oils: 17.5%) for three consecutive years. The list of graduated product sections is reviewed by the EU every three years. 
  • A beneficiary country graduates from the arrangement if it benefits from other preferential market access with the EU of is classified by the World Bank as high- or upper-middle income country in three consecutive years.