11 May 2011 16:58 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The EU’s proposed reform of trade preferences is a step in the right direction and will contribute to a speedier conclusion of bilateral free trade agreements, the European chemicals trade group Cefic said on Wednesday.
“One of Cefic’s key objectives remains a chemical sectoral agreement in the Doha Round liberalising chemical trade among all countries having a strong chemical industry, including emerging economies,” Cefic Director General Hubert Mandery said.
The European Commission adopted proposals on the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) late on Tuesday to take effect from 1 January 2014 which Cefic believes will help to get the GSP “back on track”.
“Countries which have successfully integrated into the world economy and are classified as high or upper-middle income economies will be able to maintain their competitiveness on world markets without unilateral preferences to the EU market,” it said.
“Cefic furthermore strongly supports the European Commission’s intention to facilitate graduation for homogenous product groups which are competitive on the world market, so that these product groups no longer benefit from preferential treatment,” it said in a statement.
The Commission said it wanted to concentrate GSP preferences on fewer countries whilst keeping the product coverage the same. Based on current data the number of beneficiaries would drop to around 80 from 176. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and Qatar would lose their preferences.
The proposals will be debated by the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers.
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