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European Commission decides to maintain GSP-Plus status of Pakistan

Commission appreciates Islamabad for progress on labour laws, climate change

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 23, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Sep 23, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

Photo: AFP

The European Commission has decided to maintain the Generalized Preferential System-Plus (GSP+) status of Pakistan. The decision comes in the backdrop of Pakistan’s efforts to ensure stability in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has emphasized engagement with the Taliban to avoid a crisis in the neighbouring country. However, the EU parliament had warned Pakistan earlier this month that its potential decision to recognize the Taliban government could cost it the preferential trade status.

The EU commission, in a statement on Wednesday, said that it had introduced six new conventions for Pakistan, mainly relating to providing greater facility to people with physical disabilities, tackling climate change and child labour. 

Furthermore, it also introduced new GSP rules, facilitating low-income countries.

The Commission said talks would continue with the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission.

“In the latest review, Pakistan’s individual status was not discussed,” the commission stated said, adding that the discussion revolved around “new conditions” in GSP-Plus. It observed that Pakistan had made considerable progress when it comes to labour laws and tackling climate change — two important conditions for the Commission to grant or extend a GSP Plus status.

The continuation of Pakistan’s GSP-Plus status would provide a major boost to an economic decline that began in 2017.

In March 2020, the EU extended Pakistan’s GSP plus status till 2022.

Pakistan had ratified 27 conventions before reacquiring the GSP-Plus status in 2014 and a compliance report was released periodically.

The announcement ended uncertainty after the EU Parliament adopted a resolution in May this year which called for reviewing Pakistan’s GSP+ status in the wake of a surge in the use of blasphemy accusations in the country and a surge in online and offline attacks on journalists and civil society organisations.

The resolution also urged Islamabad to “unequivocally condemn” incitement to violence and discrimination against religious minorities. It also expressed concerns over prevailing anti-French sentiment in Pakistan.

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