As per the commerce ministry, a delegation from the European Union’s mission on the Generalized Scheme of Preferences-Plus (GSP+) is scheduled to visit Pakistan next month. The visit is being held as part of the fourth biennial review (2020-21) of the EU incentive.
The EU’s ‘Special Incentive Arrangement for Good Governance and Sustainable Development is a critical mechanism designed to improve the economic relations between Pakistan and the continental bloc. The mechanism allows Pakistan zero-rated tariff preferences on almost 91% of tariff lines to the EU market.
The EU published new proposed legislation for the GSP+ scheme, earlier on September 22, with an addition of 5 more conventions to the 27 United Nations conventions. The new legislation requires all countries to comply with 32 international conventions.
The review is conducted by the EU every two years in order to make sure the beneficiary countries are committed to implementing the UN conventions. Three biennial reviews have been successfully concluded in 2016, 2018, and 2020.
According to the statement by the commerce ministry, Pakistan has provided its answers to the biennial review questions on the GSP+. The expectation is that the review will be successful owing to the government’s positive actions. Furthermore, the ministry commented that five new international conventions are in accordance with the government’s priorities.
Pakistan exports more products to the EU members than other countries. The GSP+ incentive facilitates the country by allowing duty-free access to a large number of Pakistan’s export-oriented products to the EU market. The export items include bedlinen, garments, terry towels, leather, hosiery, surgical goods, and sports items, etc.
Prime Minister’s adviser on commerce Razak Dawood issued a statement saying, “EU is our biggest export partner and we have excellent relations with all EU member states. If you see our exports country-wise, EU member countries will be in the top 10 export destinations”.
He added, “As the fourth biennial review of GSP+ incentive is currently underway, I am confident that due to the positive initiatives by the government it will be successfully completed. The five new international conventions in the new GSP scheme are in line with the government’s priorities.”
Dawood emphasized that the government was already implementing measures to safeguard child rights, labor rights, and rights of persons with disabilities. He said, “I can assure that the government of Pakistan is already committed to the cause.”
Talking about the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Dawood said that Pakistan along with the international community celebrated the “World Environment Day 2021”, as its global host on June 5, which observed the formal launch of ‘United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030’. He added that the legislative proposal for the new GSP scheme is to be submitted to the European Council and parliament. Pakistan would have to submit a new application for the new GSP scheme and implement the 32 conventions in it following the adoption of the proposal by the European Council and parliament.