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Sylvain Guelton

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Sylvain Guelton is a Senior Associate in Baker McKenzie, Brussels office.

In 2014, Ukraine and the EU signed a free-trade agreement in the form of an Association Agreement that contains a Title IV which relates to trade and trade related matters and has been applied since 1 January 2016. Article 29 of the Association Agreement provides for the progressive elimination of customs duties in accordance with the schedules included in the agreement and envisages the possibility to accelerate and broaden such elimination. Following a request of Ukraine, the European Commission has decided to put forward a proposal introducing the following trade-liberalising measures for products originating in Ukraine.

On 21 September 2021, the European Commission published its proposal for a new EU scheme of generalised preferences, also called GSP. The GSP provides preferential access for products to the EU market originating in developing countries without the need for these countries to open their markets to EU exports in exchange. This preference shall be granted in accordance with the “Enabling Clause” set in Article 2a of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade, which provides a permanent exemption from the Most Favoured Nation (non-discrimination) for developed countries to unilaterally grant elimination or reductions of the tariff paid on imports from developing countries which share the same trade, financing and development needs.

On 31st of March 2022, the Wise Persons on Challenges Facing the Customs Union (WPG) released its report on the future of the EU customs union. The WPG has been appointed by the Commissioner Gentiloni to reflect on the development of innovative ideas and concepts. This report aims to contribute to a general inter-institutional debate on the future of the customs union.