Brussels has released a list of countries that will qualify for this special status and the Brazilians, Argentines and Uruguayans are not included, along with middle-income countries such as Venezuela, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and others. EU duties charged on many of their exports will rise as a result from 1 January, 2014.
A Commission note said: “Some limited drops in exports (typically in the 1% range) are expected for many of these partners.” However, it added that this could be significant where trade was large – for instance with Brazil, which exported US$161m-worth of bovine meat to Italy in 2011, US$142m to the Netherlands, US$79m, and US$33n to Spain, according to UN figures.
Across the EU, European Commission statistics reveal that all member states imported €450m-worth of beef from Brazil in 2011. As for Argentina, the EU imported €458m-worth of beef last year – although about half the volume of Brazil, at 60.8 kilo tonnes compared to Brazil’s 100.7 kilo tonnes. Meanwhile, from Uruguay, the EU imported €272m-worth of beef in 2011, or 50.7 kilo tonnes.
For those poorer countries left inside the GSP system, the Commission announced a string of products and inputs that would henceforth be imported duty free into the EU. This includes widely-used meat preservative and colouring additive sodium nitrate. It is found in bacon, sausages, hot dogs, ham, smoked meats, patés and more. And this input is bought in major volumes; in 2011, the EU imported US$55.9m-worth from all sources in packs weighing more than 10kg, says UN data. Artificial sodium nitrate currently attracts a 6.5% duty when imported into the EU from many countries, including those that will continue to be covered by the GSP regime after January 2014.
The Commission note said: “The new scheme will be focused on fewer beneficiaries (89 countries) to ensure more impact on countries most in need.” That will include China, India, Vietnam, Thailand and many sub-Saharan African countries. If the newly excluded countries suffer recessions, they might be re-admitted, stressed the Commission.