The European Union (EU) is likely to extend Pakistan’s GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) for another four years, i.e., till 2027, as the European Council has endorsed recommendations of the European Commission (EC), well-informed sources told REPUBLIC POLICY.
There were profound differences between the Brussels-based EU Parliament and the European Council on a new proposed ten-year GSP scheme; however, a new Parliament will be elected in June next year.
According to sources, a proposal for an extension of four years in the existing GSP has landed in the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA), which will vote on the proposed extension in the current scheme.
At its next meeting scheduled on 18-19 September 2023, the International Trade Committee (INTA) will consider the draft recommendation for consent on the conclusion of the FTA between the EU and New Zealand and the accompanying draft resolution. Members will then vote on the extension of the current scheme of GSP.
“Islamabad believes that the proposal should sail through the INTA as none of the members have raised any objections so far,” an official on condition of anonymity stated. However, Pakistan has to go through the process of EU Reviews, which are conducted every two years. Two more Reviews will be added. The report of the current Review of the EU is yet to be unveiled.
There is a strong perception in the federal government that, technically, things are on the right track. Still, incidents like Jaranwala, where violent mobs attacked churches and homes of Christian residents, are problematic. Such incidents create problems at international forums.
The issues of human rights violations, child labour, etc., are expected to be part of the EU Review Report.
The sources added that the EU Parliament and European Council have strong opposing arguments due to which things are not moving forward.