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The EU Delegation to Armenia invited representatives from businesses exporting to the EU, as well as those which intend to do so, and journalists to take part in an information event dedicated to the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), which took place on 10 November 2015.
The aim of the event was to improve the use of GSP+ in Armenia, to increase and, in particular, to expand the range of products that are being exported to the EU. The event provided detailed information on EU export opportunities to GSP+ potential beneficiaries.
Speakers at the event talked about the procedures and goals of GSP+, its trade benefits, its rules of origin and customs formalities, its practical application, and the EU export helpdesk.
ARS_7568The Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation, Jose-Maria Medina Navarro, talked about the benefits of the GSP+ for Armenia and Armenian business representatives: ‘The EU is Armenia’s largest partner and, at the same time, Armenia exports iron, silk and textiles to the EU. Armenia has the potential to access the European market more extensively and that is why we are here today. GSP+ is only able to provide to a very limited number of countries that meet certain criteria set by the EU concerning the effective implementation of the 27 major international conventions on human rights, labour rights, environment and good governance’.
ARS_7577The main speaker of the event was Alina Boiciuc, Policy Coordinator for Trade and Sustainable Development, Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) at the Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission. During her presentation, Boiciuc talked about the EU GSP and GSP+ schemes, EU-Armenia trade, the use of GSP+ potential and other issues. ‘With GSP+, Armenia has access to the European market – 28 countries and more than 500 million customers. Now, when Armenian businessmen export to the EU market and not declare products under the GSP+, they pay more taxes. That is why we want to tell you more about the benefits you have’.
Andrea Scheidl, Assistant Policy Officer and Coordinator of Export Helpdesk Activities at the Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission, introduced the EU export helpdesk: ‘Exporting to Europe is possible with 6 easy steps. Firstly, you have to check the customs code for your product – the results for your product will be there. Then check custom duties and rule of origin for your product, check statistics, and click on resources to find out more on product codes, chambers of commerce and customs offices in each EU country or additional information for your country. All this you can do by visiting: www.exporthelp.europa.eu’.
The EU is seeking to establish closer relations with Armenia to achieve deeper economic cooperation and integration. Despite the fact that Armenia has decided not to pursue more preferential trade relations with the EU through the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, Armenia was included in the new initiative of the GSP+ regime from 1 January 2014, which means that more than 6,000 products of Armenian origin can now be imported to the EU with the preferences offered by GSP+ (zero or reduced taxes). GSP+, unlike the initial GSP, is more beneficial and flexible.
To benefit from GSP+, Armenia applied to the EU by presenting the whole package verifying compliance with these requirements. Countries that benefit from GSP+ get wider coverage of products (6,291 goods out of 9,655 under EU classifications) to export to the EU with zero or reduced customs duties.
Armenia should continue approximation of trade-related legislation and procedures to the EU and international trade requirements and standards in order to benefit more from the GSP+ and make exports to the EU more diverse.