Preferential Market Access and the Generalized System of Preferences
Preferential market access and GSP  

Trade preferences play an important role in facilitating exports of developing countries to major export markets.

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), instituted in 1971 under the aegis of UNCTAD, has contributed over the years to creating an enabling trading environment for developing countries. The following 13 countries grant GSP preferences: Australia, Belarus, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States of America.

Challenges arise for beneficiaries in fully exploiting the market access opportunities available under these schemes, including in effectively meeting the rules of origin requirements. Following the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Decision in 2005 in which members agreed that developed countries and developing countries in a position to do so would grant duty-free and quota-free market access for exports of LDCs, improvements were made to various GSP schemes and/or new schemes for LDCs were launched. Subsequent ministerial decisions, including that taken at MC10 in Nairobi, 19 December 2015, reaffirmed the continued importance of this issue for LDCs' trade and development prospects. The provision and utilization of trade preferences is a key goal the Istanbul Program of Actions adopted at the UN LDC IV in 2013, as further reaffirmed in SDGs Goal 17

The objective of UNCTAD's support on GSP and other preferential arrangements is to help developing countries - particularly LDCs - to increase utilization of GSP and other trade preferences and in turn promote productive capacity development and increased trade. Such support includes raising awareness and enhancing understanding among exporters and government officials in beneficiary countries of the trading opportunities available under the schemes; strengthening understanding of technical and administrative regulations and laws governing preferential market access, particularly rules of origin; and disseminating relevant information for users of GSP and other preferential schemes. Support is also provided to providers of preferences in improving their preferential schemes.



GSP Handbook on the Scheme of Turkey (UNCTAD/ITCD/TSB/Misc.74/Rev.1)
GSP Handbook on the Scheme of the European Union (UNCTAD/ITCD/TSB/Misc.25/Rev.4)
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GSP List of Beneficiaries (UNCTAD/ITCD/TSB/Misc.62/Rev.6)
GSP Newsletter, No. 12 - April 2013 (UNCTAD/WEB/DITC/2013/1)
GSP Handbook on the Scheme of Switzerland (UNCTAD/ITCD/TSB/Misc.28/Rev.3)
GSP Handbook on the Scheme of Canada (UNCTAD/ITCD/TSB/Misc.66/Rev.1)
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21 July 2013Panel discusses Cambodia: bicycle industry challenges and the fate of trade benefits

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