GSP Plus: EU Parliament wants more monitoring to implement new regulations
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The Special Representative of the European Union for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore has observed that the E.U Parliament wants more monitoring and inspection for implementation of new regulations for all countries which have been availing duty relaxation under GSP Plus status for the continuation of this facility. He was talking to All Pakistan Business Forum President Syed Maaz Mahmood in a meeting, which was also attended by the E.U Ambassador in Pakistan Androula Kaminara here today.
Androula Kaminara had arranged this one-on-one meeting of the APBF President with the E.U Special Representative on Human Rights to discuss the European Union Parliament’s new regulations and their applications to ensure the continuity of the GSP Plus facility.
Mr Eamon Gilmore said that the EU wanted to see a bit more rapid implementation of the new laws, as its Parliament had passed two resolutions to review the GSP Plus status.
Syed Maaz Mahmood, on this occasion, applauded the efforts of the E.U Ambassador to Pakistan and the E.U Special Representative for Human Rights for their full support for GSP Plus continuation. He also thanked the E.U Special Representative for visiting Pakistan and sharing the E.U point of view with the business community who is the main stakeholder of this facility and has always taken ILO conventions utmost serious and important.
“The All Pakistan Business Forum welcomes the European Union efforts to extend the Generalized System of Preferences-Plus status for Pakistan, with a view to enabling the country to continue to enjoy preferential duties on exports for the next phase of almost 10 years, the APBF President said.” He said that the continuation of this facility, which has been available to Pakistan since January 2014, will be an award for Pakistan's progress in enacting new laws and developing new institutions for implantation of 27 core conventions of GSP-Plus, especially the National Action Plan for human rights.
Syed Maaz Mahmood called for conducting awareness programs in this regard and pledged to launch a drive in collaboration with the European Union, especially in economic zones and industrial clusters in Pakistan. Syed Maaz Mahmood while applauding pak army and people of pak who sacrificed to bring peace and maintain law and order while making businesses and cities safe and secure much better as compared to 10 years earlier and the situation is very attractive for investment and expansions of businesses.
He said that Pakistan’s agenda to create jobs, empower women and pursue a social and economic plan was in line with the GSP Plus scheme. Pakistan was determined to implement the 27 conventions related to GSP plus, he added.
He said Pakistan was awaiting the visit of the Monitoring Commission of the European Commission. It was hoped that the legislative and administrative steps taken by Pakistan would prove mutually beneficial, he noted.
Pakistan has been availing tariff concession through GSP-Plus status offered by the European Union for export of its products to its markets. This requires that the applicant country has signed, ratified and is satisfactorily implementing 27 International Conventions pertaining to human rights, labour rights, environment and good governance.
The APBF president said that he would like to commend the efforts of the government especially the commerce ministry, which coordinated with other ministries, federal and provincial departments to formulate policies and laws so that 27 conventions related to GSP Plus could be fully implemented.
Pakistan’s exports to the EU went to $7.5 billion or 34 percent of the total exports of the country in 2021 after getting GSP Plus status since 2014.
He said that APBF is ready to work with the EU to focus more on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to exploit this facility and conduct awareness programs regarding the implementation of ILO Conventions in the industrial clusters across the country. The APBF along with the government agencies is already working in this regard, he added.
Syed Maaz Mahmood said that the APBF can play the role of a bridge to enhance collaboration of both public and private sectors with each other to improve the country's Doing Business ranking and Global Competitiveness Index further, besides proposing necessary steps to improve the country's fiscal and monetary performance by taking all stakeholders on board.
We can further promote the application of fundamental ILO conventions in Pakistan through work with provincial departments of labour and associated departments including; workers welfare fund, social security institutes, old age benefit institutions, minimum wages etc, he added.