The European Commission today proposed linking its most preferential trade tariffs to compliance with the Paris international climate agreement. Serious violations of climate and environmental accords could lead to the EU withdrawing its general preferential trade tariffs.
The European Parliament and EU member states will have to approve the commission's proposal, which could apply from 1 January 2024 after the EU's current Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) expires. Since 1971, the GSP has aimed to remove or lower import duties on products from "vulnerable low-income" countries.
Under the commission's proposal, serious and systematic violations of the principles of the conventions on climate change and environmental protection could lead to the EU withdrawing standard GSP preferences aimed at lower-income countries that have no free trade agreements with the EU. The commission also proposes adding the Paris climate agreement to the list of international conventions that countries must ratify to benefit from the most preferential tariffs. These currently include the Kyoto protocol, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.