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EU mission arrives in Pakistan to assess action on international conventions before renewing GSP+ status

ISLAMABAD – A European Union (EU) monitoring mission arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday to assess the implementation of 27 international conventions the country is signatory to.

Pakistan’s GSP+ status will be renewed beyond 2023 once the monitoring mission confirms the South Asian country is complying with all 27 international conventions.

GSP+ is a special trade arrangement offered to developing economies by European nations in return for their commitment to implement 27 international conventions on human rights, environmental protection and governance.

On September 21, 2021, in its review of the GSP+ scheme, the European Commission introduced six new conventions, pertaining in particular to children’s rights, environmental safety and persons with disabilities.

Last April, the European Parliament moved a resolution against Pakistan, seeking an immediate review of its eligibility for GSP+ status over what it called violence and discrimination against religious minorities and other vulnerable groups, as well as a crackdown on media. The EU ambassador to Islamabad said last October the South Asian nation would have to “redouble” its efforts to meet international rights conventions in order to continue to be a part of GSP+.

The current GSP framework will come to an end in December 2023.

“The GSP scheme is all about the EU’s and Pakistan’s joint commitment to sustainable development,” High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell Fontelles said in a statement.

“GSP+ has been very beneficial for Pakistani businesses, increasing their exports to the EU market by 65 percent since the country joined GSP+ in 2014,” the statement added.

“The European Single Market, with over 440 million consumers, is Pakistan’s most important destination. Pakistan exports worth EUR 5.4 billion (approx. PKR 1.2 trillion), namely garments, bedlinen, terry towels, hosiery, leather, sports and surgical goods.”

During the mission, the EU team will hold meetings with the government, the UN Country Team, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and business and civil society representatives as well as other stakeholders. The findings of the mission will be part of the next GSP report, due to be presented to the European Parliament and the Council toward the end of 2022.

Courtesy: Daily Pakistan

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