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Trade policy promotes sustainability and human rights

EU News 31/2016

Brussels, 28 January 2016

The European Commission and the EU High Representative published today the first report on the concrete effects of the GSP+, the EU trade policy instrument devised to encourage third countries to comply with core international standards in the areas of human rights, labour rights, environmental protection and good governance.

Through this system, which builds on the existing Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), the countries involved pay no duties when exporting a range of products to the EU. In return, they must have ratified 27 core international conventions – including the United Nations (UN) conventions on human rights and the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on labour rights – and agree to cooperate in monitoring their implementation. Today's report provides the first compliance assessment.


The 14 countries covered in the report are Armenia, Bolivia, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Mongolia, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines.

According to the report, all 14 GSP+ beneficiary countries demonstrated progress. They strengthened their domestic institutions responsible for an effective implementation of the 27 key international conventions, improved relations with the international bodies – including various UN agencies – responsible for monitoring of the conventions' implementation, and upgraded their reporting activities. These are significant steps paving the way towards further practical changes. In areas where progress has been slower, the EU will engage in dialogue with these countries in order to find ways of speeding up the process.

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