GSP Preferences System to be Promoted among Azerbaijani Exporters with EU Assistance

Azerbaijan, Baku, 9 June / Trend I. Khalilova/ The European Union will render its technical assistance to Azerbaijan to promote the use of EU-GSP preference system among the Azerbaijani exporters, said Asgar Alakbarov, head of the investment policy department of the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan. The assistance will be carried out within Tacis with the institutional support of the Ministry of Economic Development, the realization of which will start in September.

Today the tender is being held to select a contractor, which is to end in mid-July. The project costs €3mln with two-year period, Alakbarov said.

This project is included in the national action plan of Tacis on Azerbaijan for 2006 fiscal year approved by the European Commission on 15 June 2006, and the financial memorandum in this regard was signed with the Azerbaijani government in 2007.

The rate of GSP usage makes up 20%-30% in Azerbaijan.

"The low rate of GSP usage is due to either the non-conformance of products quality of the Azerbaijani exporters to the international standards or unawareness of the Azerbaijani businessmen about the existence of such preference system as they do not make use of possible privileges while exporting their products to the European markets,' Alakbarov said.

The Azerbaijani manufacturers will be informed of the operations of the preference system and necessary measures to improve the quality of the production within Tacis project.

EU has introduced Azerbaijan list of goods which are subject to privileges. It includes foodstuff, industrial goods and others. At present, EU is developing GSP+ which offers enlarging the list of goods.

The technical assistance of EU was banned especially in disseminating information on the system of preferences both in the government and private sector. The assistance can be carried out only during seminars, familiarization events and in a concrete work with the private sector.

The key point of GSP system in Azerbaijan is the non-conformance of technical regulations and standards applied in Azerbaijan in production. They do not allow the domestic exporters to make use of these preferences with full capacity. The main privilege provided by this system is that the exports dues are significantly lower while exporting products to the European markets. There is certain export dues on the goods exported to the EU countries. GSP is especially imposed on the export of agricultural products and goods produced in the EU countries with preferential terms. The preferential terms are introduced so that the third world countries would be able to import these goods.

GSP is used in the export of textiles, agricultural products, especially walnuts for the most part; however this system is not widely used in Azerbaijan.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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