At the same time, more support will be provided to countries which are serious about implementing international human rights, labour rights and environment and good governance conventions.
"I am delighted that EU Member States and Members of the European Parliament have backed the Commission's proposal to make our preferential import scheme more effective. It was an important recognition that key developing economies have become globally competitive. This now allows us to tailor our pro-development trade scheme to give the countries still lagging behind some additional breathing space and support." said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
The current GSP scheme will remain valid until 1 January 2014, thus giving economic operators time to adapt to the revised regime.
The Council and the European Parliament built on the Commission's proposal by introducing a wider though limited expansion of products and preferences, a longer transition period for the application of the new GSP, and by expanding specific safeguards to include ethanol and plain textiles.
Since 1971, the EU has had rules ensuring that exporters from developing countries pay lower duties on some or all of what they sell to the EU. This gives them vital access to EU markets contributing to the growth of their economies. This scheme is known as the "Generalised Scheme of Preferences".
The European Union (EU)
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