Russia, Brazil and Libya are among dozens of countries that are set to lose preferential trade access to the European Union, after the bloc''s parliament on Wednesday approved a law refocusing trade aid to poorest nations. The changes were set to particularly benefit Pakistan, the Philippines and Ukraine, which can now apply for a more advanced GSP+ trade regime that offers no customs tariffs in return for commitments on democracy and human rights.
Meanwhile, countries classified as high or upper-middle income by the World Bank - featuring capita incomes above 4,000 dollars - and those with other preferential access to the EU will no longer benefit from the regime of reduced tariffs or quotas starting in 2014.
They could, however, requalify if their situation changes. The provisional list includes emerging economies such as Argentina and Saudi Arabia, but also the likes of Belarus and Kazakhstan. In total, some 100 countries - including overseas territories that rarely use the regime - are expected to be excluded. "The doors are not closed. They can engage in trade negotiations with the EU through the World Trade Organisation, through bilateral trade agreements and through economic partnership agreements," noted EU lawmaker Bernd Lange, a German member of the Socialist faction.
(Source: Business Recorder)