PR No. 273 Islamabad: December 31, 2015

Over the past few weeks, the Ministry of Commerce has received some queries regarding the continuity of the preferential duties granted by the EU under GSP Plus Scheme to Pakistan post 01.01.2016. The Ministry would like to clarify that the preferences under GSP Plus Scheme, given to Pakistan since 01.01.2104 are valid for the whole GSP Plus Scheme period i.e., from 01.01.2014 to 31.12. 2023 subject to a satisfactory implementation of 27 UN Conventions by Pakistan.  Under the GSP+ framework, the EU and Pakistan have engaged into a very open and constructive programme to share information on sustainable development issues such as labour rights, environmental protection or good governance. The EU has recognised so far the good cooperation with the Pakistan authorities and progress towards the implementation of the relevant international Conventions.

Pakistan has gradually put in place institutions designed to respect, protect and promote human rights, such as the GSP+ Treaty Implementation Cell, headed by the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law and Justice, at the federal and provincial level, a recently established National Commission for Human Rights, the establishment of Human Rights Cells at the High Courts throughout the country etc. A National Framework on Human Rights is at an advanced stage of finalization. Furthermore, in October and November 2015, respectively, Pakistan has submitted its own country reports to the relevant UN Treaty Bodies responsible for the UN Human Rights Conventions.

The European Commission is preparing a technical report to the European Parliament and the EU Member States (Council) to present the trade data linked to the usage of the GSP+ instrument but also developments in the field of human rights and labour laws by the end of January 2016. Pakistan is confident that such a report will highlight the good, comprehensive partnership with the EU on these issues. Pakistan will continue to work together with the EU in the next years to deliver concrete and positive changes on the ground, for the people of Pakistan. The Ministry of Commerce, the focal Ministry in case of GSP Plus, would advise exporters to continue exporting their high quality products to EU without indulging in any kind of speculation about the continuity of GSP Plus in the coming years.