Working Papers

The EU GSP Rules of Origin: An overview of recent reforms

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02 Nov 2011

Author(s): Eckart Nauman

The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) is a non-reciprocal trade programme that has been adopted by a number of developed countries to provide trade preferences to developing and least-developed countries. The GSP had its formal origins in 1971 when exemptions to the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle were introduced under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and later made permanent under the enabling clause, paving the way for differentiated tariff preferences.

The GSP of the European Union (EU) has long been the vehicle through which it extended non-reciprocal trade preferences to 176 developing countries and territories.

The rules of origin (RoO) for the various EU GSP programmes have been the same, and have in fact remained largely unchanged over the past decades. However, a number of important changes were implemented to the EU GSP RoO on 1 January 2011, some of which relate to the treatment of goods for origin purposes, but also in terms of some differentiation between LDCs and other beneficiaries.

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