Articles taggés avec ‘South Africa’

EU Funding: European Union maintains trade preferences for developing countries

Vendredi 25 juillet 2008

The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by EU Member States of a new Regulation applying the EC’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for the period from 1 January 2009 until the end of 2011. .

This decision will allow the EU to maintain
preferential access to its market for 176 developing countries. The renewed preference
system will be updated and improved, ensuring that GSP is targeted at those countries that need it most. GSP provides real economic value to developing countries, with €57 billion worth of trade under the scheme in 2007

As a result of re-calculations to reflect the evolution of trade, preferences for specific product groups will be re-established for six beneficiary countries of GSP (Algeria, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa and Thailand). Preferences will be suspended for one country, Vietnam, for one product group, namely Section XII products (footwear and some other products). These adjustments are triggered automatically when a country’s performance on the EU market goes above or below a certain threshold. This procedure follows strict rules, and helps to ensure that the benefits of GSP preferences are targeted at the countries that need them most. Suspension of preferences, called “graduation”, reflects the fact that a particular country is competitive in the EU market for the products in question.

Alongside the standard GSP scheme, the EU also offers a special incentive arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance, known as GSP+. GSP+ offers additional preferences to support vulnerable developing countries in their ratification and implementation of relevant international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance. Interested countries have until 31 October this year to apply in order to benefit for GSP+ preferences from January 2009.


The GSP is an autonomous trade arrangement through which the EU provides non-reciprocal preferential access to the EU market to 176 developing countries and territories. In 2007, developing countries exported €57 billion worth of goods under GSP, with a nominal duty loss for the EU of €2.5 billion. At present, 14 beneficiary countries receive the additional preferences offered under the GSP+ incentive arrangement. These preferences will lapse at the end of the year and both existing and potential new beneficiaries meeting the applicable criteria will need to apply before 31 October 2008 if they wish to receive GSP+ treatment from January 2009. A special arrangement for the 50 least-developed

DG Trade

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Eu funding : G8 Environment Ministers on the key challenges of their cooperation

Lundi 26 mai 2008

A meeting of G8 Environment Ministers will be held from 24 to 26 May 2008 in Kobe, Japan.

Also taking part in the meeting will be ministers from emerging economy countries (Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Korea and South Africa) and Slovenian Minister Janez Podobnik in his capacity as President of the EU Council of Environment Ministers. Environment and climate change issues will be the key theme of the G8 Summit of Heads of State being held in Japan in July. The meeting of Environment Ministers will prepare the subject matter of the Summit.

Global environment issues are acquiring ever broader political dimensions. However, the response of the international community is still insufficiently coordinated. The G8 countries will endeavour to unify their future actions and encourage other countries to do the same. At the meeting in Kobe, the ministers will discuss climate change, biodiversity and waste management. Discussions will focus mainly on an analysis of the role of the most developed countries in the international community and on the G8’s relations with international organisations, third countries and other stakeholders (the business sector, non-governmental organisations, etc.).

Immediately after the conclusion of the Environment Ministers Meeting in Kobe, the Ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-9 CBD), currently being held in Bonn, will also come to an end. The international community has committed itself to significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but achieving this target will be difficult on account, among other things, of the growing impact of climate changes.

Biodiversity and climate change are key themes of the Slovenian EU Presidency in the field of environment and were the focus of the Informal Meeting of EU Environment Ministers at Brdo in April. In Kobe, Mr Podobnik will present the conclusions of the informal ministerial conference. Their key message is that the criteria of sustainability must be fulfilled in the use of natural resources, including food and biofuel production, while taking account of regional and sub-regional characteristics in different parts of the world.

Slovenian presidency