Uzbekistan Applies For EU GSP+ Trading Status, Doubling Duty Free Export Categories

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Increasing Trade & Export Opportunities In Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has applied to join an EU trading scheme that eases tariffs for developing countries if they improve their human rights records.

The EU’s GSP+ is considered a stepping stone for developing countries that want to improve trade relations to the level of a Free Trade Agreement. The basic GSP level reduces tariffs on two-thirds of imports into the EU. These are mainly agricultural goods but also some manufactured products. It is automatically conferred on developing countries and, currently from the Central Asia and South Caucasus region, includes Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Unlike the basic GSP level, GSP+ needs to be applied for and is earned by implementing 27 international conventions linked to human rights, labour rights, good governance and environmental protection. It reduces tariffs on imports into the EU to zero. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan both currently hold GSP+ approval, although both their status’ are under review.

The application is another example of how Uzbekistan has shifted its attitude since Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power four years ago. Uzbekistan was once regarded as a reclusive, pariah state but has pushed to become accepted, and acceptable, since 2016. In a statement, the Uzbek ministry of investment and foreign trade said it had applied to join the enhanced version of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+). “Obtaining the status of beneficiary of GSP+ will create a solid foundation for Uzbekistan’s sustainable growth and diversification of exports, which will also serve the dynamic development of mutually beneficial foreign economic ties with the European Union,” it said. Uzbekistan is already part of the basic GSP. By shifting up a level, it will more than double the number of products that it can export to the EU tariff-free to 6,200.

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