Azerbaijan Asks EU Assistance in Expanding Implementation of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by Azerbaijani Exporters

Business Materials 28 February 2008 15:31 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 28 February /corr. Trend I.Khalilova / The Government of Azerbaijan is holding talks with the European Union with regards to acquiring technical assistance in expanding the implementation of the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by Azerbaijani exporters, said the Head of Azerbaijan Economic Development Ministry's Department for Investment Policy, Asker Alekperov. Currently the use of GSP by Azerbaijan generally makes up 20-30%.

The problem is that the Azerbaijani business people are not aware of the existence of such a system and therefore they do not use the available privileges in supplying their commodities to the European markets.

According to Alekperov, not all representatives of the private sector have such a right if their products do not conform to international quality standards. "We are going to carry out work in this direction in order to inform the Azerbaijani producers of the existence GSP and necessary measures to improve the quality of their products," Alekperov said.

The EU presented to Azerbaijan a list of preferential commodities which include foodstuffs industrial products. Currently the EU prepares GSP+ envisaging the expansion of its list of commodities.

The technical assistance of the EU was asked to spread information on the GSP in the governmental and private sectors. The form of assistance has not been discussed with the European Commission yet. It may be in form of seminars, familiarization events or in form of concrete work with the private sector. According to Alekperov, within the 2006 TACIS action plan, events will commence for institutional support of the Ministry of Economic Development in mid-2008. Within these measures, seminars will be held for the employees of the Ministry and other departments. Discussions will also be organized on GSP in the seminars.

The key issue in Azerbaijan using the GSP system is lack of conformity of the technical regulations and standards of production in Azerbaijan. They do not enable the host exporters to fully use these preferences. The GSP significantly decreases the duties for entry of commodities to the EU countries. Mainly GSP is applied for the import of agricultural products and commodities not produced in the EU countries. Currently Azerbaijan occupies the last place in the use of this system.

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