A substantial body of opinion argues that, at best, trade preferences for developing countries have had little or no trade stimulating effect. This paper argues that this view fails to distinguish between the effects of EU and US preferences and, in the case of EU preferences, can be rejected on the basis of recent empirical evidence. The implications of the Appellate Body ruling on EU special preferences and the Commission’s proposals for the reform of the rules of origin are then examined. The paper concludes with an examination of proposals to increase the effectiveness of the GSP+.
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