The details of the benefits of GSP Plus Status given to Pakistan by the European Union are as under;
- As a result of the European Union’s (EU) “Special Incentive Arrangement for Good Governance and Sustainable Development”, Pakistan was given the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus, which allows Pakistani products to have duty free access to EU on 91% tariff lines.
- Pakistan’s total trade with EU in 2018-19 remained US$ 14,158.29 million. Pakistan’s exports to the EU in the same year were US$ 7,986.11 million while imports from the EU were US$ 6,172.18 million.
- The trade balance of US$ 1,813.93 million in 2018-19 remained in favor of Pakistan.
- This arrangement has helped Pakistani products to compete successfully with similar products originating from other competing countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Vietnam, etc.
The Pakistan-EU trade volume from 2013-14 to 2018-19 is as under;
The following are the details of additional sectors which could potentially benefit from the said facility/status;
- Pakistani products have duty free access on 91 % of EU’s tariff lines to all 27-Member States of the European Union since January 1, 2014.
- The preferential access sectors include textiles, leather, surgical and sports goods, and also non-traditional sectors including light engineering dry fruits, marble, handicrafts, pharmaceuticals.
The following are steps being taken by the government to retain this facility/status beyond 2022;
- The EU GSP + has been granted to Pakistan for 10 years from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2023.
- The GSP+ is linked to the implementation of the 27 UN Conventions and a biennial Review is carried out by the EU to monitor the compliance of Pakistan with its treaty obligations.
- So far three biennial reviews have been successfully concluded in 2016, 2018 and 2020 and the EU GSP+ facility for Pakistan is to continue.
- The EU Monitoring Mission is expected to visit Pakistan in the first quarter of the current year. The concerns raised by the EU regarding human rights, labour rights, climate change, and governance, in the Report of the Third Biennial Review of GSP+ have already been shared with the concerned quarters.
- Continued compliance with the 27 UN Conventions is mandatory for Pakistan to retain this status as GSP Plus is very important for Pakistan and it is the collective responsibility of media, politicians, and business community for its continuity in making a successful case for Pakistan.
- The government of Pakistan to continuously engage EU for continuity of the current benefits under GSP + and enhanced level of engagement post-GSP + to ensure continuity of the preferential system.
Note: The above information/data was shared with the Senate on June 5, 2020 by the Minister for Commerce and Textile in response to a question by Senator Zeeshan Khanzada.