EU extends GSP+ status for Pakistan for four years

The European Parliament has unanimously approved an extension of the current generalised system of preferences (GSP) for an additional four years, extending until 2027.

This extension benefits developing countries, including Pakistan, by granting them the privilege of exporting their goods to the European market with either minimal or no duties. The EU parliament’s decision, which saw 561 votes in favour, five against, and two abstentions, encompasses various GSP schemes, including GSP+, and followed a pause in talks with the EU Council on new rules in June.

In September of this year, the INTA Committee, a trade body within the EU Parliament, endorsed the extension of GSP schemes for 60 developing nations. Pakistan’s Caretaker Commerce Minister, Gohar Ejaz, welcomed this decision, emphasising its importance in providing Pakistani exporters with certainty when accessing the EU market.

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He noted that the EU is a significant market for Pakistani exporters and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the scheme, pledging to comply with all obligations and effectively implement 27 EU conventions.

EU Ambassador to Pakistan Riina Kionka explained that the extension was aimed at preventing a sudden disruption at the end of 2023, emphasising that it was unrelated to Pakistan’s performance or that of any other beneficiary country. She mentioned that EU member states would make decisions soon, and monitoring would continue.

In addition, Ambassador Kionka expressed wholehearted support for Minister Ejaz and the Pakistani government’s commitment to fulfilling GSP+ obligations, particularly those related to labor, human rights, political rights, and press freedom, as outlined in the 27 conventions.

It’s worth noting that the previous GSP regulation was set to expire at the end of this year, and negotiations between the EU Parliament and the Council of Member States took place in January 2023 to establish new rules. However, talks were suspended in June due to differences between the Parliament and member states, resulting in the extension of the current rules.

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