EU parliament wants Pakistan's GSP plus status reviewed

EU parliament adopts resolution demanding Pakistan allow space for religious freedoms, enforce commitments on human rights

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  • EU Parliament adopts resolution calling for a review of Pakistan's GSP Plus status
  • The resolution was presented by Renew Europe, a European political group. It was adopted with a majority of 681 votes against six.
  • The GSP+ scheme is an important mechanism to boost Pakistan's exports to the trading bloc.

The European Parliament adopted on Thursday a resolution against Pakistan which asks for a review of the country's GSP Plus (GSP+) status, citing an increase in laws that it sees as discriminatory towards minorities and fundamental rights.

The resolution was presented by Renew Europe, a liberal, pro-European political group of the European Parliament. It was adopted with a majority of 681 votes against six.

The resolution says Pakistan has violated the conditions of its Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus status.

The GSP+ is a special component of the GSP scheme that provides additional trade incentives to developing countries already benefitting from GSP.

The GSP+ status granted to Pakistan requires the country to demonstrate progress on the implementation of 27 international core conventions. This condition constitutes a strong leverage for the European Union in terms of monitoring any direct advocacy with Pakistan, said the European Commission.

Read more: PM Imran Khan’s aide says misuse of blasphemy laws stopped in Pakistan

The EU Parliament session discussed the situation of religious freedoms in Pakistan under its “human rights and democracy resolutions” manifesto.

Read more: EU gives Pakistan favourable review for GSP+ status

Sajjad Karim, a former negotiator on GSP plus and part of the EU Parliament trade committee says the adoption of this resolution is “serious.” 

He said it is backed by the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister and former chief election observer to Pakistan from EU Michael Ghaler - both of whom were previously always supportive of GSP+ for Pakistan.

He said Ghaler raised his concerns with him over the topic some time ago.