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EU asks Pakistan toFollow HR Regimes in Order to Qualify for GSP+ after 2023

September 25, 2021

The European Commission has adopted a legislative proposal for a new European Union Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) to remove or reduce duties on imports of products to promote sustainable development in low-income countries for the next ten years.

Pakistan has benefited the most from the current GSP plus scheme since 2014, with zero duty on hundreds of products under the current regulation, which will expire on December 31, 2023 and will be replaced by the new proposal.

The new proposal will now be debated by the European Parliament and the Council. The new GSP regulation will take effect on January 1, 2024, if they adopt it.The EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a well-established trade and development policy tool that has been in place since 1971. On Friday, the European Commission in Islamabad released details of the new GSP legislation.

The European Commission is constantly monitoring beneficiary countries like Pakistan’s progress toward the implementation of 27 international conventions under the current GSP+ system, which will end in 2023.Some positive progress was highlighted in the most recent monitoring reports, while concerns were raised about child labour, torture, media freedom, and access to justice, among other things.

When asked about Pakistan’s current GSP plus status and prospects for joining the new scheme, EU Ambassador to Pakistan AndroullaKaminara said that since being granted GSP plus status in 2014, Pakistan’s economy has benefited greatly from preferential access to the European market.She claimed that Pakistan’s exports had increased by 60%, making the EU Pakistan’s most important market.

“However, in order to maintain GSP+ trade preferences beyond 2023, Pakistan will have to redouble its efforts to turn the international conventions it signed into reality on the ground,” the ambassador said.Pakistan, like any other potential beneficiary country, would have to show tangible progress to persuade EU parliamentarians and member state governments to be eligible under the new GSP+ system, according to the envoy.In order to benefit from the GSP plus incentives, vulnerable low- and lower-middle-income countries must comply with 27 international conventions (32 in the new proposal) related to human rights, labour rights, environmental and climate protection, and good governance.

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