On 31 January 2018, the Official Journal published Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/148 of 27 September 2017 amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences which revised the listings of several countries under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which is reviewed each January. Regulation (EU) 978/2012 provides that a country that has been classified by the World Bank as a high-income or an upper-middle income country for 3 consecutive years, or a country that benefits from a preferential market access arrangement which provides the same tariff preferences as the GSP, or better, for substantially all trade, should not benefit from GSP, although GSP benefits will continue for 1 year after entry into force of a change in status to high-income or an upper-middle income country for 3 consecutive years, and 2 years after the date of application of a preferential market access arrangement so that the GSP beneficiary country and economic operators are given sufficient time for an orderly adaptation to the country’s GSP status revision. Accordingly, the following actions have been taken:
- Paraguay has been classified by the World Bank as upper-middle income country in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Therefore, Paraguay no longer qualifies for GSP beneficiary country status and will be removed from the list of GSP beneficiary countries in Annex II to Regulation (EU) 978/2012, with application from 1 January 2019;
- Preferential market access arrangements started to apply to Côte d’Ivoire on 3 September 2016, to Swaziland on 10 October 2016, and to Ghana on 15 December 2016. Therefore, Côte d’Ivoire, Swaziland and Ghana are also be removed with application from 1 January 2019; and
- Paraguay also ceases to be a GSP+ beneficiary country under Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 and is therefore removed from Annex III to that Regulation with application from 1 January 2019;
- As the UN graduated Equatorial Guinea from the least-developed country category on 4 June 2017, Equatorial Guinea no longer qualifies for Everything But Arms (EBA) beneficiary status under Annex IV. The removal of Equatorial Guinea from the list of EBA beneficiary countries will apply following a transitional period of 3 years, namely from 1 January 2021.
- Furthermore, Equatorial Guinea has been classified by the World Bank as high income country in 2015 and as upper-middle income country in 2016 and 2017. Therefore, Equatorial Guinea no longer qualifies for GSP beneficiary country status and will also be removed from the list of GSP beneficiary countries in Annex II with application from 1 January 2021.