On Tuesday, the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) jointly revealed a monitoring report on Pakistan’s Generalised Scheme of Preference, or GSP Plus.
The report expressed concerns about forced disappearances, torture, and limitations on media freedom in Pakistan, which are seen as violations of international treaties.
It urged Pakistan to enforce laws protecting economic, social, and political rights and raised reservations about the misuse of anti-corruption rhetoric for political purposes.
Despite civilian rule since 2008, the report highlighted the military’s disproportionate role in politics and the economy.
Covering 2020–2022, it focused on the May 9 riots and subsequent trials in military courts, recognising legislative progress but emphasising the need for improved practical implementation.
Furthermore, the report read that although initial measures have been undertaken to limit the application of the death penalty, additional steps are required to bring them in line with international standards.
This entails introducing a comprehensive revision of the mercy petition procedure.
“It has undeniably increased awareness of human rights at the grassroots level, of labour rights within businesses and export supply chains and of the significance of environmental considerations and good governance.
However, the full potential of the GSP+ benefit can only be realised by diversifying Pakistan’s exports to include more value-added products”, remarked EU Ambassador to Pakistan H.E. Dr Riina Kionka about the report.
Pakistan attained GSP Plus status in January 2014, following the ratification of 27 international conventions and a commitment to their implementation.
The GSP Plus incentive provides Pakistan with zero-rated or preferential tariffs on nearly 66 per cent of tariff lines, thereby bolstering the country’s capacity to export to the EU market.