Islamabad, 22 June 2022 (TDI): A monitoring mission from the European Union (EU), consisting of representatives from the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission’s Directorates-General for Trade and for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion, arrived in Pakistan today. The mission will conduct a review of the 27 international conventions that Pakistan has ratified.

The GSP+ (Generalized Scheme of Incentives Plus) offers extensive tariff preferences for imports into the EU from vulnerable developing countries.

This helps them in the reduction of poverty, sustainable development, and country’s involvement in the global economy. Moreover, this will help in strengthening good governance.

For chiefly 66% of the tariff lines, eligible nations like Pakistan can export goods to the EU market duty-free. This advantageous status is contingent on GSP+ nations making real strides in putting 27 international treaties on human and labor rights, environmental protection, combating climate change, and good governance into practice.

Remarks of the Executive Vice President:

According to Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President and Commissioner for trade, “For five decades, the EU GSP has supported vulnerable countries to grow in a sustainable manner by giving them preferential access to the EU market. This has helped beneficiary countries to diversify their economies and create jobs. It has also galvanized beneficiary countries into improving human and labour rights, the environment and good governance.”

“The GSP scheme is all about the EU’s and Pakistan’s joint commitment to sustainable development.” as stressed by High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell Fontelles.

Since Pakistan joined GSP+ in 2014, exports to the EU market have increased by 65 percent, which has been tremendously advantageous for Pakistani businesses.

Pakistan’s largest significant market is the European Single Market, which has more than 440 million consumers. Pakistan exports clothing, bed linen, terry towels, hosiery, leather, sporting goods, and surgical items valued at EUR 5.4 billion (about PKR 1.2 trillion).

Meetings with the government, the UN Country Team, the International Labor Organization (ILO), representatives of business and civil society, and other stakeholders will take place during the expedition.

Inclusion of the findings in the GSP report:

The mission’s findings will be included in the upcoming GSP report, which is scheduled to be delivered to the European Parliament and Council by the end of 2022.

The UN and other international organizations that are the convention’s custodians provide reports and information that the European Union uses to regularly monitor the implementation of the relevant 27 international accords.

In addition, the EU sends regular monitoring missions to assess the situation on the ground. They make public reports to submit their findings to the European Parliament and the EU Member States in the Council. Subsequently, three biennial evaluations have already been completed, in 2016 and then again in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

Aside from Pakistan, Bolivia, Cabo Verde, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan are the other countries that the EU unilaterally offers GSP+ tariff discounts to.

In December 2023, the present GSP structure will expire. Whereas, the legislative effort to replace it from 2024 to 2033 is still going on.