Belgium, 2 February 2024 (TDI): Foreign Minister of Pakistan Jalil Abbas Jilani met his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg, on the sidelines of the 3rd Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum happening in Belgium. The meeting underlines strengthened Pakistan-EU relations.
Both officials reviewed the trajectory of Pakistan-Austria relations and agreed to further expand bilateral cooperation. Moreover, significant attention was given to analyzing both regional and global developments.
In addition, Pakistan and the European Union have mutually agreed to enhance their collaboration in accordance with the Strategic Engagement Plan 2019.
This consensus was reached during a meeting today in Brussels between Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles.
Pakistan-EU political ties
Pakistan’s relations with the EU date back more than fifty years. The EU Delegation in Pakistan represents the EU on a variety of subjects, including development cooperation, commerce, humanitarian assistance, security, and counter-terrorism.
Furthermore, it also addresses issues such as energy, the environment, health, transportation, migration, and climate change.
The Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) signed by the EU and Pakistan in 2019 redefines bilateral relations, identifying broader aspects for reciprocal engagement.
Under SEP, EU-Pakistan relations include political and security cooperation in addition to commercial and development assistance. An EU-Pakistan Joint Commission meets annually to monitor the agreement’s progress.
Pakistan-EU trade relations
The Cooperation Agreement, signed in 2004, governs bilateral trade relations between the EU and Pakistan. The EU-Pakistan 5-year Engagement Plan, which began in 2012, additionally involves increased bilateral commerce and investment.
The EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) provides significant trade prospects for Pakistan. Since January 1, 2014, Pakistan has benefited from extensive tariff preferences, mainly zero taxes on two-thirds of all product categories, under the GSP+ arrangement. This arrangement aims to promote sustainable development and good governance.
The European Union remains Pakistan’s primary economic partner. The EU is Pakistan’s largest export destination, accounting for around one-third of its exports. The EU is also a significant development cooperation provider for Pakistan.