A four-member European Union (EU) Mission arrived here on Sunday for the second review of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) plus to assess implementation status of 27 Conventions in the light of reports submitted by Pakistan, informed sources told Business Recorder.
The Review Mission which will stay till November 4, 2016 in Pakistan includes: (i) Guus Houttuin- Advisor, trade issue and business co-ordinator, European External Action Service (EEAS), Team Leader; (ii) Dietmar Krissler – Deputy of Division Asia Pacific 2, EEAS; (iii) Andreas Julin, DG Trade Unit D,1 Trade Sustainable Development and GSP, European Commission (EC); and (iv) Rudi Delarue, DG Employment, Deputy Head of Division Unit D3, EC. The Review Mission”s main focus will be human rights, women rights and labour situation.
The visit will take place before the meeting of the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission which is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on November 23, 2016.
The Mission will start meetings from Monday with the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) and key Government officials dealing with four core areas of the GSP plus ie. Human Rights, Environment, Labour Rights and Governance as well as representatives of civil society in Islamabad.
The Mission will meet Chairman NCHR, former Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan, Attorney General of Pakistan, Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and Minister for Human Rights, Minister for Commerce, and officials of Climate Change Division, Narcotics Control Division and Overseas Pakistanis Division. The Mission members will also visit Karachi from 2-3 November and hold meetings with the Government of Sindh and business community.
Pakistan is a major beneficiary of the trading opportunities offered by the GSP plus. From 1 January 2014 Pakistan benefited from generous tariff preferences (mostly zero duties on a two-third of all product categories) under the so-called GSP+ arrangement aiming to support sustainable development and good governance. In order to maintain GSP+ Pakistan has to effectively implement 27 core international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance. The EU is Pakistan”s most important trading partner taking 21.2% of Pakistan”s total exports. Pakistani exports to the EU are dominated by textiles and clothing as well as leather products. Textiles and clothing account for just under 75% of Pakistan ”s exports to the EU.
Pakistan”s exports to European Union have increased manifold after getting GSP plus status. In 2014, Prime Minister established a Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) which is headed by the Special Assistant to the PM Ashtar Ausaf (now Attorney General for Pakistan) to sensitise the provincial governments to bring the domestic human right laws in line with the international human rights conventions. Several meetings of TIC have taken place in which the Federal Government has guided the governments of constituent units in upgrading their laws.