ISLAMABAD: A monitoring mission from the European Union (EU) arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday to assess the country’s compliance with the 27 international conventions to which it is a signatory.
The officials are from the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission’s Directorate-Generals for Trade and for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.
The GSP+ scheme provides preferential tariffs for imports from developing countries which are considered vulnerable, in order to support poverty eradication and sustainable development, as well as to encourage their participation in the global economy.
Countries like Pakistan may be eligible to export goods to the EU market at zero duties for 66% of tariff lines. This preferential status is conditional on countries demonstrating significant progress in the implementation of 27 international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, climate change and good governance.
“The GSP scheme is all about the EU’s and Pakistan’s joint commitment to sustainable development”, Vice President Josep Borrell Fontelles highlighted.
The European Union Mission has stated that the GSP+ scheme has been highly beneficial for Pakistani businesses. Since Pakistan joined GSP+ in 2014, its exports to the European Union market have increased by 65%.
The European Single Market is Pakistan’s most important export destination, worth EUR 5.4 billion (approx. PKR 1.2 trillion).
The mission’s findings will be included in the next GSP report, due to be presented to the European Parliament and the Council at the end of 2022.
During the mission, representatives from the government, UN Country Team, International Labour Organization (ILO), business and civil society, as well as other stakeholders, will be met. Items for export include garments, bed linen, terry towels, hosiery, leather, sports, and surgical goods.
The EU regularly sends monitoring missions to assess the situation on the ground, which are reflected in publicly available reports to the European Parliament and EU Member States in the Council. Three biennial reviews have been concluded so far in 2016, 2018, and 2020.