Home Global Village Is Pakistan close to a Free Trade Agreement with the EU?

Is Pakistan close to a Free Trade Agreement with the EU?

Free Trade Agreement
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News Analysis |

In a triumphant juncture for Pakistan, especially in the face of Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) sanctions, the European parliament has given the nod for Pakistan’s (Generalized System of Preferences) GSP plus status to be extended by two years. Pakistan is one of the 10 beneficiaries of EU’s GSP plus Scheme.

As a result of duty free access available to Pakistan in 28 member states Pakistan’s exports to the EU have increased from 4.54 billion Euros in 2013 to 6.29 billion Euros in 2016, which implies an increase of 38%. This duty free access has been important for Pakistani products to maintain their competitiveness in the European market against similar products coming in from India, Turkey, Vietnam and China.

During the session it was announced that GSP plus monitoring missions shall undertake visits to Pakistan, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and Bolivia in second half of 2018 to interact with stakeholders engaged in implementation of mandatory conventions for GSP plus.

The EU was pleased over Pakistan’s compliance of the 27 core conventions of the GSP plus, particularly the national action plan for human rights. The parliament expressed its wishes that Pakistan would continue to engage with the EU to further improve the compliance with the conventions during the next tenure of its reporting on GSPplus.

European commission and the European External Action Service had concocted a Joint Staff Document evaluating steps taken by the beneficiary countries to comply with UN Conventions pertaining to human rights, labor rights, narcotics control and corruption.

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International Trade Committee (ITC) noted the positive economic impact of the GSP plus scheme on the beneficiary countries and it has been useful in encouraging countries to undertake necessary steps for promoting principles of good governance and sustainable development.

In this regard, the ITC has discussed the 2nd Biennial Assessment Report of GSP plus and has also consented to contemplate upon the possibility of an up-scaling relationship with Pakistan from a beneficiary of GSP plus scheme to a full scale Free Trade Agreement partner in the future which could prove a phenomenal balm to Pakistan’s economy. The process of monitoring of compliance of GSP plus for next biennial assessment report for 2018-2019 would start in March 2018 by the European Commission.

The section pertaining to Pakistan appreciated legislative and institutional measures undertaken to improve the human rights conditions in Pakistan. It specifically appreciated the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission and National Action Plan for Human Rights among other measures.

Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, earlier this month, had directed authorities to ensure continuation of (GSP) plus, for primarily strengthening the country’s textile export industry, beyond 2018, Global Village Space had reported. “Commerce division and relevant foreign missions abroad are to maintain a focused approach towards ensuring continuation of GSP plus status…,” the statement quoted PM Abbasi as saying at a meeting held to review the efforts afoot to secure the said status down the line.

According to Ministry of Commerce, Secretary Commerce Mohammad Younus Dagha represented Pakistan at the ITC meeting in Brussels and made a presentation to the European Council on Pakistan’s case for retaining GSP plus and on-going deliberations by the EU Parliament and to undertake necessary engagements with policy makers in the European Parliament, European External Action Service and European Commission.

Read more: Pakistan hopes for generalized system of preferences extension as European investors…

The section pertaining to Pakistan appreciated legislative and institutional measures undertaken to improve the human rights conditions in Pakistan. It specifically appreciated the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission and National Action Plan for Human Rights among other measures.

During the session it was announced that GSP plus monitoring missions shall undertake visits to Pakistan, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and Bolivia in second half of 2018 to interact with stakeholders engaged in implementation of mandatory conventions for GSP plus.


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