Current portal location

Website content

Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)

The GSP allows vulnerable developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on exports to the EU, giving them vital access to the EU market and contributing to their growth.

Find the scheme that benefits your country (GSP, GSP+ or EBA)


Generalised Scheme of Preferences in a nutshell

The GSP has three objectives:

  • contribute to poverty eradication by expanding exports from countries most in need
  • promote sustainable development and good governance
  • ensure that the EU's financial and economic interests are safeguarded

GSP supports economic growth and job creation in the beneficiary country by generating increased export revenue.

Benefits and technical details of the EU's GSP

GSP also supports EU businesses' competiveness by lowering the costs of imports from these countries.

The EU values fair, multilateral and rules-based order in trade arrangements. This means that beneficiary countries are expected to put into practice key UN human rights and International Labour Organization conventions.

The scheme was created following recommendations by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It is also based on the WTO's enabling clause, which permits developed countries to create trading preferences for developing countries.

The GSP Regulation provides a sliding scale of preferences within three schemes according to the different needs of developing countries:

The Trade Helpdesk helps exporters to the EU find information on product-specific import conditions and statistics, customs duties, rules and proofs of origin.

Effects of the GSP

The Commission published its second report for 2016-2017 to the European Parliament and the Council on the effects of the GSP . This includes the GSP+ arrangement supporting sustainable development and good governance (January 2018).

The Commission has carried out a midterm evaluation of the current GSP Regulation (January 2014 - December 2023) assessing whether the GSP Regulation is on its way to achieving its objectives (October 2018).

GSP+ country assessments

EU-funded projects for GSP countries

The European Commission has provided several grants to the International Labour Organisation for 2-year pilot-projects in GSP, GSP+ and EBA beneficiary countries.

Examples of EU-International Labour Organization cooperation

Enhanced engagement with certain EBA beneficiaries

The EU has intensified wide-ranging discussions with three EBA countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia and Myanmar) on their human rights and labour rights standards.

Engagement is primarily based on reports from the ILO and other UN bodies monitoring international human rights and labour rights conventions.

The process has led to some improvements in Cambodia: a process identifying uncompensated victims of land grabbing for sugar plantations has started.

The Bangladesh Compact (the EU, ILO, United States and Canada) engage with Bangladesh to solve labour, occupational health and safety problems and to encourage responsible business conduct in the ready-made garments and knitwear industry.

As a last resort, the EU is ready to withdraw EBA preferences if talks fail to produce results. Such a decision will give due consideration to any possible negative economic and social consequences.