The effectiveness of EU's generalised system of preferences : evidence from ASEAN countries
Faculty of Applied Economics
Journal of International Trade Law and Policy
, p. 65-81
University of Antwerp
Purpose The European Union's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) has existed for over 40 years and it aimed to promote the export growth in the developing countries. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the evolution and characteristics of the EU's GSP regime and examine the effectiveness of the EU's GSP in promoting the export growth of ten ASEAN beneficiary countries. Design/methodology/approach The authors analyse the trade flows between the EU and ASEAN beneficiary countries under the GSP scheme by referring to trade data (1990-2007) at the aggregate level, the sectoral level and individual beneficiary country level. Findings The authors find that using the EU's GSP to promote the exports growth of the ASEAN countries has very limited effectiveness. Although the total EU imports from the ASEAN countries experienced a significant increase during the period 1990-2007, the preferential imports under the GSP scheme remained stagnated at the same period. However, the least developed ASEAN members reported very high utilization rates and successfully exploited GSP preferences for pushing up their exports to the European market. Originality/value This work provides new evidence on whether the EU's GSP really works and to what extent the EU's GSP enhances the export growth of ASEAN beneficiary countries. The empirical findings may provide trade policymakers with some guidance in making EU trade policy.