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:

On July 14, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice providing country-by-country allocations of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (October 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018) in-quota quantity of the tariff-rate quotas for imported raw cane sugar, certain sugars, syrups and molasses (also known as refined sugar), specialty sugar, and sugar-containing products.

On 21 November 2016, the WTO announced that Chile and Swaziland have ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), making them the 97th and 98th WTO members to do so. Their submission of the instruments of acceptance to the WTO on 21 November means that nearly 90 per cent of the ratifications needed to bring the TFA into force have now been received. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement. 

On 11 October 2016, the Official Journal published a notice announcing that the  European Union and the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland have notified the completion of the procedures necessary for the provisional application of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the SADC EPA States, of the other part, in accordance with Article 113 of that Agreement.

  On 10 June 2016, the European Commission announced that the European Union and six countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the first of its kind between the EU and an African region pursuing economic integration. The signature took place in Kasane, Botswana. The EPA is a development-oriented free trade agreement. In addition to this agreement, other regional agreements could…