Pakistan to complete 4th Biennial Review of GSP-Plus: adviser
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will successfully complete the 4th Biennial Review of the European Union (EU) Generalised Scheme of Preference (GSP) Plus incentive, a senior government official said.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood expressed the hope that as the 4th Biennial Review of GSP Plus incentive is currently under way, “I am confident that due to the positive initiatives by the government, it will be successfully completed” he said.
The adviser said: “[The] EU is our biggest export partner and we have excellent relations with all the EU member states, a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce said.
“If you see our country-wise exports, the EU member countries will be in the top 10 export destinations. Dawood said that the five new international conventions in the new GSP Scheme were 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.”
On the issue of the Paris Agreement on climate change, he said Pakistan has joined the international community in celebrating the “World Environment Day 2021”, as its global host, on June 5, 2021, which carried special significance, as it also witnessed the formal launch of the “United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021/30.”
The observance of the 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”, he said.
The adviser said Pakistan was 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 the Parliament for detailed deliberations before adoption, he said.
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.
The Fourth Biennial Review (2020/21) has commenced and Pakistan has submitted its responses to the EU on the list of issues and follow-up questions on September 15, 2020 and September 15, 2021, respectively.
Now the EU monitoring mission was expected to visit Pakistan in November 2021. The European Commission has published the new proposed legislation for the GSP Scheme on September 22, 2021.
Under the new GSP Scheme, the 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 international conventions.
So far, three successful biennial reviews have been concluded in 2016, 2018 and 2020, respectively. The European Union’s Special Incentive Arrangement for Good Governance and Sustainable Development (GSP-Plus) was a pivotal mechanism for improving the economic relations between Pakistan and the EU; whereby, Pakistan is given zero-rated tariff preferences on almost 91 per cent of the tariff lines to the EU market.
The 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.
The EU GSP Plus is linked with the implementation of the 27 UN conventions on human rights, labour rights, climate change, governance and narcotics control.
After every two years, the European Union carried a review to ensure the commitment of the beneficiary countries to effectively implement these 27 UN conventions.
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