Everything but Arms

1. Conditions

The Everything But Arms (EBA) trade preferences automatically apply for an unlimited period of time to all countries who are defined by the UN Committee for Development Policy as a least- developed country. Least developed countries are defined as countries having a low income, a low level of human assets and to be highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks. A country can temporarily lose its EBA preferences in the very specific case where it violates the principles of human rights and labour rights conventions it had to adhere to in the context of the EBA mechanism.

2. Preferences

The EBA mechanism allows a country to export all its products (except arms and ammunition) into the EU single market without tariffs and quota restraints. The EBA mechanism knows no other restrictions: it does not get annulled if the countries have other preferential trade agreements with the EU, and it does not include a graduation process for certain products.

3. Monitoring

To benefit from the EBA preferences, countries have to respect the principles of 15 human rights conventions, listed in Annex VIII (a) of the EU Regulation 978/2012.

The EBA status and related trade preferences can be temporarily withdrawn if a country does not respect these principles. If the Commission establishes that:

  1. these principles are systematically and seriously violated
  2. the exported goods in question are produced under prison labour
  3. there is a failure of the EBA beneficiary country to control on drugs at customs, or to live up to international conventions on money laundering and anti-terrorism
  4. the country in question is practicing systematic and serious unfair trading
  5. there is a “serious and systematic infringement of conventions concerning the management and conservation of fishery resources”
  6. there is a systematic failure, fraud, or irregularities to provide on the origin of products or a failure to fulfil the related obligations to cooperate

The European Commission regularly monitors the situation in EBA beneficiary countries by relying on reports from monitoring bodies of international organisations, from civil society, and more importantly dialogue and meetings with stakeholders in each country.