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EP Trade Committee ends trade preferences for developing countries


01 Mar 2012


Trade & Society

A grand coalition of EPP, S&D and ALDE groups today supported a Commission proposal to end EU tariff preferences for a majority of developing countries. From now on, any country that has a GDP per capita per year of more than $4.000 shall be considered too rich to receive EU generosity.

"I am shocked at how the financial crisis in Europe makes Socialist MEPs ready to give up development goals", deplores GUE/NGL coordinator on trade policy, MEP Helmut Scholz. "For a poor country like Ecuador, cutting EU trade preferences means putting more than 200.000 jobs in great danger."

The European Trade Union Congress, European Development Organisations and Parliament's own Development Committee had all supported amendments trying to leave vulnerable developing countries within the EU's trade preferences scheme, the GSP.

"I am not surprised that EPP rapporteur Fjellner would not listen to the trade unions' arguments. But it is quite frustrating to see that S&D shadow rapporteur David Martin and S&D co-ordinator Bernd Lange have turned deaf ears to the voices of trade unions and the developing world," Helmut Scholz commented.

"Now we need to place our hopes in the forthcoming decision in plenary. The European Parliament in its entirety has often shown that it values EU development goals more than EU trade interests. I urge my colleagues to continue the global fight against poverty even when European banks have brought us into an economic crisis."

GUE/NGL press contacts:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20 

Sonja Giese  +32 486 94 50 21

David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12


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