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Status of GSP+ extension for Pakistan

Monitoring Mission of European Union’s (EU) Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) is on visit to Islamabad for ten days

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Last year, EU included six new conventions and was concerned about the situation of human rights, press freedom, death penalty and issues of child labor while extending the GSP plus status for Pakistan. Pakistan will retain GSP+ status until 2022, when the EU will release new eligibility criteria for the scheme.

Sources from Ministry of Commerce shared that the Monitoring Mission of European Union’s (EU) Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) is on visit to Islamabad for ten days (June 20 to 30, 2022).

Sources from Ministry of Commerce stated, “will also give a detailed briefing to the Federal Cabinet on Tuesday (today) on GSP+ related to unresolved issues and prospects for a new GSP scheme starting from next year.”

Furthermore, Syed Naveed Qamar Minister for Commerce after his recent visit to some EU member countries’ capitals to gather support for a new scheme, will also brief his efforts and the EU countries’ observations about incomplete conventions to the cabinet.

Paving the way towards extending GSP+ beyond 2023 for Pakistan

Since 2020, the EU Monitoring Mission will overlook the advancements and progress made on execution of 27 International Conventions relating GSP+ signifying the four charters of human rights, labor rights, the environment, and good governance.

It was agreed in the meeting of the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) on June 14, 2022 that the stakeholders involved may form a solid narrative for presentation to the Monitoring Mission, given the massive significance of the Monitory Mission’s visit extension of GSP+ unilateral concessions used by Pakistan.

Perks of the new GSP scheme

On September 22, 2021, the European Commission published the legislation for new GSP scheme (2024- 34).

The proposed GSP scheme intends to bring improvement in the main features of the scheme to efficiently cope with the growing requirements and challenges of GSP countries, also strengthen social, labor, environmental and climate aspect of the scheme which will be active for ten years. List of international conventions was expanded from 27 to 32 that recipient countries will have to endorse and execute.

Commerce Ministry highlighted that GSP + incentive offers many Pakistani export-oriented products such as garments, bed linen, terry towels, hosiery, leather, sports & surgical goods, etc., duty free entry in the EU market. Resultantly, Pakistan’s exports to EU improved from $ 6.094 billion in 2013-14 to $ 7.965 billion in 2018-19.

Read more: Pakistan’s exports increased by 43%

In the last two years, because of Covid-19 pandemic, the bilateral trade register dropped. In the fiscal year 2020-21, bilateral trade remained at $ 10.883 billion, with Pakistan’s exports to the EU reaching to $ 6.9186 billion, imports from the EU estimated at $ 3.9644 billion, and a trade balance in Pakistan’s favor of $ 2.9542 billion.

Read more: European Union lauds Pakistan’s successful fight against COVID-19

A Sub-Group on trade has been formed by the EU and Pakistan to stimulate the growth of two-way trade. The EU and Pakistan have formed a Trade Sub-Group to promote the growth of two-way trade. The Sub-Group on Trade, established under the aegis of the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission, serves as a platform for discussions on trade policy and developments in general, as well as addressing individual market access issues that impede trade between the two groups.