STORY | The Role of the GSP in EU-Armenia Cooperation
Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, Mr Karen Azaryan, Trade Officer
Since 2014, Armenia is a beneficiary of the Special Incentive Scheme for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+) granted by the European Union. The year 2019 was remarkable by the highest monetary value – EUR 198.1 million of products exported from Armenia to the EU using the preferences granted by the GSP+.
Additionally, the utilisation rate, which shows the difference between eligible export under GSP+ and actual use of the preference, reached 98%. This is the highest among all the EU GSP+ beneficiaries in 2019. The EU is the second most important trading partner for Armenia, just behind the Eurasian Economic Union.
Further diversification of Armenian exports:
Taking a closer look at trade relations under the GSP+, around 59% of all exports from Armenia to the EU member states were covered by GSP+ preferences.
“Nevertheless, the Armenian exports to the EU under GSP+ are not diversified and more than 96% of products which benefited from the preferential tariffs covered by GSP+ in 2019 are base metals.” – says Mr Karen Azaryan, Trade Officer in the EU Delegation in Armenia.
Furthermore, prepared foodstuffs, tobacco and garments are exported using GSP+ preferences. Thus, a significant objective for Armenia in the future is to explore additional avenues for economic diversification in order to take full advantage of the benefits granted under the GSP+.
As a GSP+ beneficiary country, Armenia has an obligation to effectively implement the 27 international conventions related to human rights, labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance. “As of today, all 27 international conventions tied to the GSP+ have been ratified by Yerevan, showcasing a great example of the impact of the GSP+ on non-economic areas in improving Armenian people’s rights and quality of life” – adds Mr Azaryan.
As part of the GSP+ periodic monitoring, Armenia reports the latest developments and reforms in the human rights field and is encouraged to take new initiatives in an inclusive way, involving civil society and various stakeholders. The monitoring process and the connection of the GSP+ to international values and standards puts Armenia in a position to target its efforts to better tackle salient issues.
The latest such monitoring report covering 2018-2019 elaborates on Armenia’s commitments in the field of human rights, labour rights and good governance, however, also highlights several challenges, most notably regarding hate speech and harassment against LGBTQI people, discrimination at work, and child labour.
“The GSP+’s role in human rights is certainly crucial and contributes to a sustainable environment of good governance, rule of law and democracy” states Mr Azaryan, who is looking forward to an even closer cooperation between the EU and Armenia in the future, with the GSP+ remaining a centrepiece, and contributing to the further strengthening of human rights within the country.
Continue your discussion with us:
- How did the GSP+ contribute to industrial development in Armenia?
- What are recent developments relating to human and labour rights and how can the remaining challenges be best addressed?
Click on the link to be redirected to the Armenia country page and use the conversations tool to start a discussion!
Are you interested in connecting with other business stakeholders? Leave a post in our business engagement forum!