GSP plus and Pakistan

(M.Tahir Anjum, Sargodha University, Gujranwala Campus)

A relentless gossip about the GSP plus status awarded to Pakistan is on the frame in media know a days. GSP stands for generalized system of preferences. It is also known as generalized scheme of preferences. GSP has been classified into three sub groups; GSP, GSP plus and EBA (Everything but arms). Normally, GSP status is given by developed countries to less developed countries so that LDC’s economies may escalate their economic progress by promoting primary industrial realm. Occasionally, GSP works under the rule of MFN (Most Favorite Nations). WTO (World Trade Organization) sets the rules to trade internationally while it’s member countries use to award status of MFN to each other in order to soften up trade frictions by tapping duties and tariffs on inter boarder trade. The GSP plus awarded countries use to permit to export in donor countries at lesser tariffs. GSP plus status is given to the countries that follow the 27 International conventions laid down by international trade regulators concerning with different dimensions of business; human rights, good governance, labour standards and environment protection. In case of strict adherence to these 27 international conventions GSP plus status is granted and after every 2 years interval it is monitored while violator may withheld the status. Pakistan applied for GSP plus status in March 2013 and got this status in December 2013 by getting 406 votes. The status has been functional now and will boost exports up to 20% at preferential rates (Source: The Dawn, Dec 12, 2013). By tapping textile and ethanol demand in Europe will escalate it 29% and add $ 1.17 in national exchequer (Source: The Express Tribune).Mostly, primary and secondary products will be exported to EU and additionally, Immediate products can also be exported to EU markets that would be imported from Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The beneficiary country will have to ensure the match of actual and granted limit of trade alike; Pakistan will not export more than 2% the total imports of EU, current year’s export should not be 13.5% more than previous year and a specific product’s export should not be more than 6% of total EU import of that product otherwise the concession will be withdrawn. Public and private market players were waiting for this move and were establishing platform to channelize it properly like; squeezing child labour, equal employment opportunities for male and female and strict adherence to corporate labour and environmental laws and much more to make compliance with 27 conventions (Source: Staff Reporter, November 8, 2013). The hindrance of terrorism was softened up by Dr. M. Sarwar when he met with hundreds of EU parliamentarians and told them that 98% of total causalities in terrorism war and attacks in Pakistan were Muslims. More importantly the major reservations of EU parliamentarians were regarding state labour, minorities and human rights and he successfully satisfied them by highlighting the Government policies about minorities and speech made by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Christmas Eve. Dr. M. Sarwar himself organized a lot of functions and parties for minorities in Governor House as well. (Source: Tribune The Express, December 31, 2013).

The spokesman of ministry of commerce and industry Ghulam Dastgir has expressed his views regarding 27 conventions compliance as; “The major challenge lays in tracking progress on conventions in coordination with provinces, as most of the matters are related to the federating units. “Full compliance was not possible even by the developed nations but Pakistan will assure that there is significant progress.” (Source: Tribune The Express December 31, 2013).

Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif himself and Ghulam Dastgir (Minister of State for commerce, Textile & Industry) visited Eastern Europe in which France Germany Norway etc countries lie to take them in trust for GSP plus but these countries didn’t support Pakistan to gain this status while France opposed Pakistan open heartedly. Pakistan’s ambassador in France was accused for opposition for GSP plus as he didn’t actively participate in satisfying them. But behind this, there may be India’ considerable part from her lobby not to grant Pakistan GSP plus. (Source: Business Recorder, December 04, 2013)

In Asian region, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have already gained the status of GSP plus and China and India have been listed out from GSP plus status. Pakistan is the strong contestant for gaining this status and makes it possible with the untiring efforts made by Governor Punjab Dr. M. Sarwar by meeting the all requirements laid down by UNCTAD. He organized meeting with EU parliamentarians and moreover he met Danish ambassador Jesper Moller Sorensen in Pakistan and told that over 2,00,000 are Muslims in Denmark and if Halal Food is exported then it would capture a huge part of export and will satisfy the Muslim Community over there. (Source Business Recorder September 07, 2013). After getting the status of GSP plus Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sahrif expressed his views as: “Gaining access to European markets was the top most priority of the government as part of economic development agenda, which has been achieved due to continuous hard work of the ministers and officials from the ministries of finance, commerce and foreign affairs and friends of Pakistan in Europe (The Dawn, December 12, 2013)”.

The prime ministry of Pakistan has related” friends of Pakistan in Europe” with Dr. M. Sarwar’s participation because he is a businessman and holds strong business concerns in Europe. The discussion concludes that the focal part of attaining the GSP plus status played by Governor Punjab Dr. M. Sarwar. Government appointed him as Governor to get benefit from his relations in foreign countries. Finally Government succeeded in its aim and Pakistan got a huge opportunity for economic boost … GSP plus status.

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very good huge knowledge in the articale
By: Tayyaba Manzoor, Gujranwala on Apr, 24 2017
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