GSP+ Status In Jeopardy! Officials From EU Mission Has Already Warned Pakistan Govt

GSP+ Status In Jeopardy! Officials From EU Mission Has Already Warned Pakistan Govt
The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) facility provided to Pakistan by the European Union (EU) is in jeopardy owing to a shift in the EU’s policy and the sanctions imposed by Islamabad on international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), The Express Tribune said in a report.

The EU has shifted its focus towards the Central Asia and targeted on low- and middle-income countries for concessions. It is currently negotiating agreements with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, said the newspaper.

Quoting a senior official of the federal government, the report said senior officials of the EU mission in Pakistan had already warned the government in this regard. He said the EU’s ambassador to Pakistan had also written a letter to the federal government indicating the changing scenario.

According to the official, India, Bangladesh, Turkey and some other states are lobbying against Pakistan and pushing the EU to withdraw the GSP+ facility from Pakistan.

This revelation comes as the EU wants Pakistan to abolish death penalty, as the issues related to human rights and FATF can badly damage the country’s case. And it can help the rivals plead their arguments forcefully against Pakistan.

Earlier in 2013, Pakistan lobbied with support of the UK but this time its position in the EU is not the same owing to Brexit.

The EU in 2013 granted GSP+ status to Pakistan with 406 votes in favour and 186 against, giving Pakistani products a duty-free access to the European market till 2017.

The GSP Plus status allows almost 20 per cent of Pakistani exports to enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70 per cent at preferential rates. The EU trade concessions are benefiting the country’s textile and clothing industry by enabling its products to compete with those of regional rivals like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which have already got a duty free access to the bloc’s market.

Earlier on Sunday, EU Ambassador Jean-François Cautain, during a meeting with CPNE (Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors), said the EU wanted Pakistan to abolish the death sentence, not for attaining GSP status but on the principle that even the best judicial systems could be wrong at times.

He said that the EU wanted Pakistan to progress in a positive direction, adding that the press should be able to voice and report on whatever was going on in the country, he added.

Cautain said the EU would review the implementation of 27 conventions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was a requirement for GSP plus status in 2020.

He said that the implementation on The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations as it was beneficial for Pakistan itself not the world.

Similarly, Cautain last week said, “We are not sure that the death penalty is a deterrent in Pakistan, but what we are sure is that the death penalty is irreversible.”

Also read: First-Ever Comprehensive Book On Death Penalty In Pakistan: EU Ambassador For At Least Reinstating Moratorium

“Some years ago, two people were acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan after they were executed. This is a miscarriage of justice. Though Pakistan’s GSP + status does not hinge on Pakistan abolishing the death penalty, capital punishment should be reserved for the most serious crimes and follow due process. At the very least, the moratorium on the death penalty should be reinstated as soon as possible,” he added.

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