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EU’s lawmakers rollover Pakistan’s GSP+ status till 2027

An illustration of the EU and Pakistan’s flags. — X/@Gohar_Ejaz1

KARACHI: European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Riina Kionka, stated Thursday that the proposal by Members of the European Parliament (MEP) to roll over the regulations governing Pakistan’s GSP Plus status was made to avoid a “cliff edge” at the end of the year.

Ambassador Kionka took to X — formerly known as Twitter — to respond to a post from Dr Gohar Ejaz, caretaker federal minister for commerce and industries.

Ejaz had posted on his social media that he was “pleased to share that the EU MEPs have decided to roll over the rules on the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) till 2027. The European Council is expected to give its final approval for the extension of the current Scheme soon.”

He added that he was taking “this opportunity to reiterate Pakistan’s commitments under the Scheme for the betterment of all,” and thanked the EU Parliament “for living up to its commitment to facilitate trade from developing countries.”

However, the EU ambassador reposted Dr Gohar Ejaz’s statement by adding a clarification: “To clarify: This rollover is proposed so as to avoid a cliff edge at the end of 2023. It is unrelated to [Pakistan’s] performance or that of any other beneficiary country. EU member states will decide soon. Monitoring will continue.”

Ambassador Kionka also posted, in another tweet/post on X (formerly Twitter), that “together with team Europe, I wholeheartedly support the commitment of minister Gohar Ejaz and the Government of Pakistan to fully meet GSP+ obligations.”

The press room of the EU Parliament revealed that the EU “MEPs extended the existing rules aimed at reducing or eliminating import duties on products entering the EU market from over 60 developing countries until 2027.”

With regard to the extension of Pakistan’s GSP Plus status, the EU ambassador had earlier in July released a video statement, stating that “the proposed extension of the current regulation for GSP Plus in effect means no change for Pakistan at the moment, and the country enjoys the same trade preferences and access to the European market [as before].”

She continued to say that Pakistan “has the same obligations as before in terms of implementing the 27 international human rights conventions” and that the EU will “continue to monitor progress and report to the European Parliament”.

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