Phnom Penh, 5 August 2022 (TDI): Pakistan Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, met the high representative of the European Union on foreign affairs and security Josep Borell.

The meeting occurred on the sideline of the 29th ASEAN regional forum (ARF) ministerial meeting in Cambodia. During their meeting, they both discussed bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.

The Foreign Minister agreed to enhance relations and make ways for mutual benefit. He further briefed the EU’s representative regarding the current dynamics of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover,  Bhutto also highlighted the positive impact of the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences plus (GSP+) on bilateral trading.

Also read: Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Japan meet 

GSP Plus

The European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus gives developing countries a special incentive to pursue sustainable development and good governance. Therefore GSP essentially means the removal of customs duties completely or partially on two-thirds of tariff lines. EU is Pakistan’s second-largest trading partner after the USA. GSP plus gives Pakistan the opportunity to have trading relations with the EU’s 28 member states.

Pakistan and the European Union

EU-Pakistan bilateral trade relations are governed by the Cooperation Agreement from 2004. Pakistan’s 5-year Engagement Plan is based on the enhancement of bilateral trade and investment from 2012.

Pakistan is a major beneficiary of the trading opportunities offered by the EU GSP plus. Pakistan must continue ratifying and effectively implementing 27 essential international treaties in order to sustain its GSP+ status. These include human and labor rights, environmental protection, and also good governance.

The EU and Pakistan have also set up a Sub-Group on Trade to promote the development of two-way trade. The Sub-Group on Trade is the forum for discussions on trade policy developments. It also aims to tackle individual market access issues that hamper trade between the two parties.

The EU supports Pakistan’s integration into the world economy and its sustainable economic development by granting it GSP+ trade preferences. More than 76% of Pakistan’s exports enter the EU duty and quota-free due to GSP plus. This represents almost 20% of Pakistan’s exports globally.


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