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The Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) was introduced by the UK government in June 2023.

The aim of the DCTS is to promote sustainable growth in developing countries. It does this by using a more generous trade preferences scheme than with other trade partners.

The DCTS applies to 65 countries, which fall into three tiers of preferences. Each category has increasing levels of preferential market access for the countries, meaning that the least developed countries get the most generous treatment.

The scheme has received a largely positive response, although there were a few criticisms about the scheme not differing enough from its previous incarnation, the Generalised Scheme of Preferences. Most respondents to the 2021 consultation on the draft scheme favoured increasing the permitted levels of non-originating content in imported goods. The Commons International Trade Committee said the scheme risked “holding developing countries to a double standard compared to richer nations” by introducing more stringent enforcement of human and labour rights than for the developed countries, such as Japan.

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