New Delhi, Jul 28 (UNI) Even as the rich developed and poor developing countries remained engaged to thrash out issues for a new global trade deal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, the European Union has decided to extend preferential access to 176 developing countries to its market for two years from January 1, 2009.
Under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), the EU provides non-reciprocatry preferential access to developing countries which exported goods worth euro 57 billions to European countries in 2007.
India is the largest beneficiary of EU's GSP scheme. The country's exports to EU under the GSP reached 11.3 billion euros in 2007 as compared to 9.6 billion euros in 2006, an EU statement said here today.
The renewed preference system, which will continue till 2011-end, will be updated and improved, ensuring that it is targeted at those countries that need it most, it added.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said: ''The continuation of GSP will ensure stability and predictability for beneficiaries and traders in the EU and developing countries. GSP is a vital tool of our pro-development EU trade policy.'' India will be among six countries which would benefit under trade preferences for specific product groups for the extended two-year period, while benefits to Vietnam suspended under the system which ensures that GSP preferences are targeted at the countries that need them most.
Suspension means Vietnam has become competitive in the EU market for footwear export.
The review system of GSP will benefit India's gems and jewellery sector which exported jewellery, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones and metals worth 2.1 billion euros to the EU countries in 2007.
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