European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has announced that Brussels will revise its system of trade preferences with the world’s poorest countries.
The EU is revamping its low or zero tariff regime on imports from 178 developing countries. Speaking to journalists in Brussels on Wednesday Lamy said reforms will be "focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable developing countries who most need trade preferences to access the EU market." The review looks set to result in a more product-focused regime that would cut breaks for the most competitive products, particularly from emerging economies such as China, while at the same time expanding the system for the world’s poorest countries. But this move has drawn criticism from other quarters. Jo Leadbeatter of the relief organization Oxfam's Brussels office described the move as a "half hearted" attempt to improve market access for poor nations. The revision will now go before EU member states and the European Parliament for approval. ( EUobserver.com)