circular economy,  compliance e AEO,  free trade agreement

EU GSP scheme and sustainable development

The European Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) is a framework of customs rules for which, the duties on some goods are removed if imported from vulnerable developping countries. This benefit requires that:

  1. To be eligible, the goods must comply with some additional rules: direct trasport, accounting segregation, rules of origin, statement of origin with the mention of rex (registered exporter) in the invoice or other document;
  2. It is based on the regulation 978/2012. It is interesting to add that in November 2023 the application of this GSP regulation was extended until December 2027, pending the approval of a reviewed GSP regulation by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

The unilateral scheme of the GSP provides that:

  1. The duties on non-sensitive goods, except for agricoltural components, are suspended entirely;
  2. The duties on sensitive goods are reduced by 3,5 percentage points.

The main purpose of this framework is to support the sustainable economic development of the developing countries which are grouped in the following categories:

  1. Standard GSP: Congo, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Micronesia, Nigeria, Nieue, Syria, Tajikistan;
  2. SGP+: Cabo Verde, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan;
  3. EBA (everything but not arms) or least developed countries (LDC): Afghanistan, Nepal, Angola, Niger, Bangladesh, Rwanda, Benin, Sao Tome & Principe, Bhutan, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Burundi Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Somalia, Central African, Republic, South Sudan, Chad, Sudan, Comoros Islands, Tanzania, Congo (DRC), Timor-Leste, Djibouti, Togo, Eritrea, Tuvalu, Ethiopia, Uganda, Gambia, Vanuatu, Guinea, Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, Zambia, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar

All the beneficiaries countries have to comply with the following conventions:

Core human and labour rights UN/ILO Conventions

1.Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948)

  1. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965)
  2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)

4.International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

  1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)
  2. Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984)

7.Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

8.Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour, No 29 (1930)

9.Convention concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, No 87 (1948)

10.Convention concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organise and to Bargain Collectively, No 98 (1949)

11.Convention concerning Equal Remuneration of Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value, No 100 (1951)

  1. Convention concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour, No 105 (1957)

13.Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, No 111 (1958)

14.Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, No 138 (1973)

  1. Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, No 182 (1999)


Conventions related to the environment and to governance principles

  1. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1973)
  2. Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987)

18.Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (1989)

19.Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)

20.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992)

  1. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000)
  2. Stockholm Convention on persistent Organic Pollutants (2001)
  3. Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1998)
  4. United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961)
  5. United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971)
  6. United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)
  7. United Nations Convention against Corruption (2004)

Moreover, it is useful to recall that according to article 5 paragraph 2 of the mentioned regulation: “…2. By 1 January of each year following the entry into force of this Regulation the Commission shall review Annex II. To provide a GSP beneficiary country and economic operators with time for orderly adaptation to the change in the country’s status under the scheme:

(a) the decision to remove a beneficiary country from the list of GSP beneficiary countries, in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Article and on the basis of point (a) of Article 4(1), shall apply as from one year after the date of entry into force of that decision;

(b) the decision to remove a beneficiary country from the list of GSP beneficiary countries, in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Article and on the basis of point (b) of Article 4(1), shall apply as from two years after the date of application of a preferential market access arrangement…”.

The GSP benefits can be withdrown if the beneficiary country falls in the article 19 paragraph 2 of the regulatio 978/2012: “…(a) serious and systematic violation of principles laid down in the conventions listed in Part A of Annex VIII;

(b) export of goods made by prison labour;

(c) serious shortcomings in customs controls on the export or transit of drugs (illicit substances or precursors), or failure to comply with international conventions on anti-terrorism and money laundering;

(d) serious and systematic unfair trading practices including those affecting the supply of raw materials, which have an adverse effect on the Union industry and which have not been addressed

by the beneficiary country. For those unfair trading practices, which are prohibited or actionable under the WTO Agreements, the application of this Article shall be based on a previous determination to that effect by the competent WTO body;

(e) serious and systematic infringement of the objectives adopted by Regional Fishery Organisations or any international arrangements to which the Union is a party concerning the conservation and management of fishery resources…”.

From an operational standpoint, to import into the EU goods originating from the countries involved by the GSP scheme, it is required that:

  1. The exported adds to the invoice or commercial document the following statement of origin:
  • French version: L’exportateur … (Numéro d’exportateur enregistré ( 2), ( 3), ( 4 )) des produits couverts par le présent document déclare que, sauf indication claire du contraire, ces produits ont l’origine préférentielle … ( 5 ) au sens des règles d’origine du Système des préférences tarifaires généralisées de l’Union européenne et que le critère d’origine satisfait est … … ( 6 )
  • English version: The exporter … (Number of Registered Exporter ( 2 ), ( 3), ( 4)) of the products covered by this document declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of … preferential origin ( 5) according to rules of origin of the Generalised System of Preferences of the European Union and that the origin criterion met is … … ( 6 ).
  • Spanish version: El exportador … (Número de exportador registrado ( 2), ( 3 ), ( 4 )) de los productos incluidos en el presente documento declara que, salvo indicación en sentido contrario, estos productos gozan de un origen preferencial … ( 5)) en el sentido de las normas de origen del Sistema de preferencias generalizado de la Unión europea y que el criterio de origen satisfecho es … …

The footnotes are the following: “…( 1 ) Where the statement on origin replaces another statement in accordance with Article 101(2) and (3) of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 laying down detailed rules for implementing certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 (See page 558 of this Official Journal.), the replacement statement on origin shall bear the mention ‘Replacement statement’ or ‘Attestation de remplacement’ or ‘Comunicación de sustitución’. The replacement shall also indicate the date of issue of the initial statement and all other necessary data according to Article 82(6) of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447.

( 2 ) Where the statement on origin replaces another statement in accordance with sub-paragraph 1 of Article 101(2) and paragraph (3) of Article 101, both of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447, the re-consignor of the goods making out such a statement shall indicate his name and full address followed by his number of registered exporter.

( 3 ) Where the statement on origin replaces another statement in accordance with sub-paragraph 2 of Article 101(2) of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447, the re-consignor of the goods making out such a statement shall indicate his name and full address followed by the mention (French version) ‘agissant sur la base de l’attestation d’origine établie par [nom et adresse complète de l’exportateur dans le pays bénéficiaire], enregistré sous le numéro suivant [Numéro d’exportateur enregistré dans le pays bénéficiaire]’, (English version) ‘acting on the basis of the statement on origin made out by [name and complete address of the exporter in the beneficiary country], registered under the following number [Number of Registered Exporter of the exporter in the beneficiary country]’, (Spanish version) ‘actuando sobre la base de la comunicación extendida por [nombre y dirección completa del exportador en el país beneficiario], registrado con el número siguiente [Número de exportador registrado del exportador en el país beneficiario]’.

( 4 ) Where the statement on origin replaces another statement in accordance with Article 101(2) of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447, the re-consignor of the goods shall indicate the number of registered exporter only if the value of originating products in the initial consignment exceeds EUR 6 000.

( 5 ) Country of origin of products to be indicated. When the statement on origin relates, in whole or in part, to products originating in Ceuta and Melilla within the meaning of Article 112 of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447, the exporter must clearly indicate them in the document on which the statement is made out by means of the symbol ‘XC/XL’.

( 6 ) Products wholly obtained: enter the letter ‘P’; Products sufficiently worked or processed: enter the letter ‘W’ followed by a heading of the Harmonised System (example ‘W’ 9618). Where appropriate, the above mention shall be replaced with one of the following indications:

(a) In the case of bilateral cumulation: ‘EU cumulation’, ‘Cumul UE’ or ‘Acumulación UE’.

(b) In the case of cumulation with Norway, Switzerland or Turkey: ‘Norway cumulation’, ‘Switzerland cumulation’, ‘Turkey cumulation’, ‘Cumul Norvège’, ‘Cumul Suisse’, ‘Cumul Turquie’ or ‘Acumulación Noruega’, ‘Acumulación Suiza’, or ‘Acumulación Turquía’.

(c) In the case of regional cumulation: ‘regional cumulation’, ‘cumul regional’ or ‘Acumulación regional’.

(d) In the case of extended cumulation: ‘extended cumulation with country x’, ‘cumul étendu avec le pays x’ or ‘Acumulación ampliada con el país x’…”.


  1. Direct trasport/non-manipulation priciple: it means that the goods should be exported directly from the beneficiary country to the EU. If not, the importer should prove that the goods were not worked. In the guideline “The European Union’s rules of origin for the Generalised System of Preferences. A GUIDE FOR USERS“ it is stated that “…An important difference between the previous direct transportation requirement and non manipulation clause lies in documentary evidence to be provided. Until 31 December 2010, with direct transport in all cases where the goods were transported via another country, except where the country of transit was one of the countries of the same regional group, the EU importer was required to present documentary evidence that the goods did not undergo any operations there (in the country of transit), other than unloading, reloading or any operation designed to keep them in their condition. The types of the referred documentary evidence were strictly defined in the law. The new non-manipulation clause shall be considered as satisfied a priori unless the customs authorities have reasons to believe the contrary; in such cases, the customs authorities may request the declarant to provide evidence of compliance, which may be given by any means…”;
  2. It is recommended to check if the good (HS code) is included in the list of the ones of the GSP scheme;
  3. To be eligible, the goods must be compliant with the rules of origin.

Economic operator, AEO have to follow up all the development of the EU GSP regulations.