Pakistan needs to implement 32 UN conventions to avail new GSP Plus facility

GSP-Plus incentive provides Pakistani export oriented products duty free access in the EU market

ISLAMABAD: As per the fourth biennial review of Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP Plus) scheme that commenced in the European Union (EU) on Wednesday, Pakistan needs to implement 32 UN conventions, including five new conventions in order to avail new facility.

According to officials at the Ministry of Commerce, the Fourth Biennial Review (2020 – 2021) has commenced whereas Pakistan submitted its responses to the EU on the list of issues and follow up questions on September 15, 2020 and September 15, 2021, respectively.

The EU monitoring mission is expected to visit Pakistan in November for further discussion over the matter.

It may be mentioned here that the EU GSP Plus is linked with the implementation of 27 UN Conventions on human rights, labour rights, climate change, governance and narcotics control.

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Earlier last month, the commission had proposed new regulations for the 2024-34 GSP Plus scheme.

Under the new scheme, beneficiary countries including Pakistan, will have to ratify and implement five new international conventions in addition to the previous 27 UN conventions, thus bringing the total number to 32 conventions.

The five new conventions are being included as optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child, on the involvement of children in armed conflict, rights of persons with disabilities, convention on labour inspection, convention on tripartite consultation and the UN convention against transnational organised crimes.

The EU remains Pakistan’s largest export destination where over €3 billion worth of goods were exported in the first half of the current year, up by 11 per cent.

After every two years a review is carried out by the EU to ensure the commitment of the beneficiary countries to effectively implement the 27 UN conventions. So far, three successful biennial reviews have been concluded in 2016, 2018 and 2020, respectively.

According to Advisor to PM on Commerce & Investment Abdul Razzaq Dawood, the EU is Pakistan’s biggest export partner and Pakistan has excellent relations with all EU member states.

“If you see our exports country-wise, EU Member Countries will be in the top ten export destinations. As the 4th Biennial Review of GSP Plus incentive is currently underway, I am confident that due to the positive initiatives by the government it will be successfully completed. The five new International Conventions in the new GSP scheme are in line with the government’s priorities and we are already taking steps to ensure labour rights, child rights and rights of the persons with disabilities. I can assure that the Government of Pakistan is already committed to the cause”, he said in a statement.

On the issue of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the advisor mentioned that Pakistan joined the international community in celebrating the World Environment Day 2021 as its global host on 5 June 2021 which carried special significance as it also witnessed the formal launch of “United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030”.

The observance of World Environment Day 2021 on the theme of “ecosystem restoration” is fully aligned with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Green Vision, as manifested in Pakistan’s flagship Ecosystem Restoration Initiative. Pakistan is already in the midst of one of the world’s most ambitious efforts to expand and restore its forests, having already planted a billion trees as part of its 10 Billion Tree Project.

The legislative proposal for the new GSP scheme will now be submitted to the European Council and parliament for detailed deliberations before adoption. Once the European Council and parliament adopt the new scheme, Pakistan, like any other beneficiary country of the GSP scheme, will have to file a new application for the new GSP scheme and ratify and implement 32 International Conventions.

European Union’s ‘Special Incentive Arrangement for Good Governance and Sustainable Development’ (GSP- Plus) is a pivotal mechanism for improving economic relations between Pakistan and EU, whereby Pakistan is given zero rated tariff preferences  on almost 91pc of tariff lines to the EU market.

GSP-Plus incentive provides many Pakistani export oriented products including garments, bed linen, terry towels, hosiery, leather, sports and surgical goods etc. duty free access in the EU market.

 

 

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