Sat, 23 Sep 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 1 (ANI): Pakistan has refused to ratify the European Union (EU) conditions including the abolition of the death penalty for the extension of a new Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP) status for 2024, according to local media.

The GSP is a trade and development policy instrument in place since 1971 which is set to expire on December 31, 2023. Pakistan, a major recipient of the GSP scheme, benefitted from zero duty on several products.

The 27-member-bloc sees the coming months as crucial for extending the GSP status for 2024.

The Express Tribune citing sources reported that the EU Parliament had proposed additional conventions for the new GSP scheme (2024-34). These conventions include the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) - Individual complaints against State party in ICC - and First Optional Protocol to the International Convention Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) - Individual complaints against State party in ICCPR-UNHRC.

There is also a second optional protocol to the ICCPR which bounds a country to abolish the death penalty. The Pakistani publication further reported citing sources said that Pakistan had not ratified any of the conditions.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will engage with the presidents of the council and the commission to seek a waiver to the conventions. The Pakistani side will take up the matter with an EU delegation that is visiting the country and with the EU Parliament.

Meanwhile, taking stock of the progress made on the nine priority areas for the fourth biennial review of GSP Plus, PM Shehbaz asked the chief secretaries of the four provinces to brief the cabinet via video link, The Express Tribune reported.

On June 22, a mission of the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP) arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday to assess the effective implementation of 27 international conventions.

"The GSP (Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus) provides wide-ranging tariff preferences for imports to the EU from vulnerable developing countries to support poverty eradication, sustainable development and their participation in the global economy as well as reinforce good governance," the EU mission said in a statement.

Eligible countries like Pakistan can export goods to the EU market at zero duties for 66 per cent of tariff lines. This preferential status is conditional on GSP countries demonstrating tangible progress on the implementation of 27 international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, climate change and good governance. (ANI)

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