The European Union skips the import tax for a vast number of Colombian
products. Colombia is one of the 15 developing countries benefiting
from the new measure.
The measure will take effect in January 2009 and will run until 2011.
Other countries that benefit are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Costa
Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mongolia,
Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Sri Lanka and Venezuela, the European
Union’s executive arm said in a statement.
The countries’ status will give them special trade preferences
under the GSP+ scheme, in addition to standard concessions in the
Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
The EU offers GSP+ status to vulnerable developing countries that
have ratified and effectively implemented 27 core conventions under the
United Nations and International Labour Organisation on human and
However, the eligibility of two of the countries listed — El
Salvador and Sri Lanka — was under investigation by the European
Commission over their implementation of certain U.N. and ILO
conventions, the statement said.
“While the investigations are ongoing, the countries continue to
receive preferential access, but depending on the findings they could
be withdrawn from the scheme,” it said. It said GSP+ country
beneficiaries generated 4.7 billion euros ($6 billion) of trade with EU
countries in 2007, with a nominal duty loss to EU coffers of more than
357 million euros, compared with standard GSP rates of import duty.
The duty-free access means a considerable tariff reduction over
rates applied under the regular GSP scheme, it said. Tariff cuts
include tobacco, various fruits, vegetables, fish and honey, ranging up
to 52 percent for some products.
“GSP+ is at the heart of our pro-development trade policy. The
decision today ensures that sustainable development and good governance
will continue to be rewarded,” EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton
said in the statement. (Reuters)