The EU on Wednesday updated its conditions for poorer nations to win privileged access to the European market with a demand they fall in line with the bloc’s green ambitions.
The changes are part of the European Commission’s update to a scheme dating from 1971, known as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), that offers easier access to the EU market for goods exported from developing countries.
The EU executive will now make sticking to environmental safeguards a condition for countries to keep enjoying the smoother GSP access for selling goods into Europe.
Under the GSP, the EU can put pressure on developing countries that veer away from internationally set standards on human rights, labour norms and other issues.
Last year, for example, the EU restored tariffs on goods imported from Cambodia over perceived human rights violations.
“There is no need to overhaul the scheme, as we did 10 years ago. But we have done some fine-tuning… to bring the scheme closer in line with our trade sustainability principles,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU trade commissioner.
In addition, the scheme, which is broken down into several categories of countries, will add six more conventions to the current 27 that countries must comply with to receive the trade advantages.
The EU will also replace the Kyoto Protocol with the Paris agreement on climate change.