EU Threaten Pakistan From Losing Its Preferential Trade Deal if It Does Not Respect Human Rights  

EU Threaten Pakistan From Losing Its Preferential Trade Deal if It Does Not Respect Human Rights  
Source: AFP


Clara-Lou Lagiere

Europe and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

The European Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala announced that Pakistan's Generalized Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+) status could be lifted if the country does not implement Human Rights Law. The GSP+ status, aimed for vulnerable developing countries, was granted to Islamabad in 2014 and allows the country to export products to the EU without duties. This status is vital for the Pakistan economy which relies on Europe for a third of its exports. The main condition is that the countries benefiting from the GSP+ must ratify 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, environmental protection and good governance. 

Yet, in Pakistan, the protection of human rights and in particular minority rights is threaten by blasphemy and torture laws. Women and children are still subjects to physical and sexual violence, media freedom is at risk and fundamentalist forces are rising. As a result, the European Parliament passed two resolutions in the last six months in order to review Pakistan’s status and will soon start a European Commission Monitoring Mission to question the government about the country’s implementation of the international conventions.

The trade pact which expires in December 2023 might not be renewed if the country does not act to meet international standards and Human Rights Law.

Sources and further readings:

Antonopoulos, P. (2021, November 13). Pakistan under pressure from the EU to deal with human rights situation. Greek City Times.

Bhavya Sukheja. (2021, November 16). EU: Pakistan must implement minority, women rights protection acts to continue GSP+ status. Republicworld.Com.

European Commission. (2021). Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) - Trade - European Commission. EU Trade.

European Union warns Pakistan on blasphemy laws, women rights. (2021, November 16). Dailyhunt.

Zahid Hussain, (2021, May 10). Europe’s criticism of Pakistan’s human rights record should be a wake-up call for Islamabad. Scroll.In.