Developing countries and emerging economies can import two-thirds of their goods into the European Union without customs duties if they adhere to specific requirements for environmental protection, good governance and respect for human rights.
That is what the European Commission states when it presents new trade regulations for poorer countries, which will apply from 2024 to 2034.
For fifty years, the EU has offered discounts on import tariffs for goods from poorer countries. The measures are intended to help the economy in those countries grow and create jobs. As a result, the very poorest countries can already enter the European market without any restrictions at a zero rate, without anything in return, such as importing goods from Europe in exchange.
That just doesn’t apply to weapons and ammunition. Emerging countries such as India or Nigeria are eligible for a reduced rate on two-thirds of all products they ship to Europe.
The commission now offers a new option: countries that commit to European standards for sustainability, good governance, human and labour rights can receive a zero rate for two-thirds of their exports to EU countries. The rules include rights for people with disabilities and a ban on child labour.
Brussels can cancel the so-called preferential access to the EU market for countries that, according to the committee, do not comply with the agreements “seriously and systematically”.