GSP Plus status to remain till 2023
The preferential trade status granted by the European Union (EU) to Pakistan under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus programme will remain in place until 2023.
The scheme has been announced for the period January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2023 subject to satisfactory implementation of 27 United Nations conventions by Pakistan.
According to officials in the Ministry of Commerce, under the GSP Plus framework, the EU and Pakistan have got engaged in a very open and constructive programme to share information about sustainable development issues such as labour rights, environmental protection and good governance.
The EU has cooperated with Pakistani authorities and progress has been made on implementation of the international conventions.
The officials point out that the government has gradually put in place institutions designed to respect, protect and promote human rights such as the GSP Plus Treaty Implementation Cell, headed by the special assistant to prime minister on law and justice, at the federal and provincial levels.
In addition to this, the National Commission for Human Rights has also been established as well as human rights cells at high courts throughout the country.
A national framework on human rights is also at an advanced stage of finalisation. Furthermore, in October and November last year, Pakistan submitted its country reports to the relevant UN bodies dealing with the human rights conventions.
According to the officials, the European Commission is preparing a technical report for the European Parliament and EU member states (council) to present the trade data linked with the GSP Plus scheme as well as developments in the area of human rights and labour laws. The report will be completed by the end of January this year.
Pakistan is confident that the report will highlight its comprehensive partnership with the EU on these issues.
The officials point out that the commerce ministry will advise exporters to continue exporting high-quality products to the EU without indulging in any kind of speculation about the continuity of GSP Plus in coming years.