Pak support to Taliban could endanger trade ties with EU: Report

  • The GSP+ status allows products to enter the EU market from developing nations without any import duties. This allowed Pakistan’s export to the EU to increase from 4.538 billion euros to 7.492 billion euros, registering an increase of 65%.
The GSP+ status allows products to enter the EU market from developing nations without any import duties.(Reuters)
The GSP+ status allows products to enter the EU market from developing nations without any import duties.(Reuters)
Published on Sep 08, 2021 11:12 PM IST
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Written by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The European Parliament earlier this year called for an ‘immediate reassessment’ of the trade regime between the European Union and Pakistan, according to a report by news agency EUToday. The report said that there were demands for the temporary withdrawal of the generalised system of preferences-Plus (GSP+) status which the European Union granted to Pakistan in 2014. Pakistan in return agreed to implement 27 internationally recognised conventions.

During the 3rd biennial assessment of the GSP which was published last year, the report highlighted that Pakistan failed to make meaningful advances in protecting human rights. The report pointed out that this was seen with respect to the nation’s strict blasphemy laws where incarceration rates are high if punished and even if the accused are acquitted most of them are murdered.

Pakistan also reconstituted the death penalty which is applicable to cases of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad or any other religious figure. Earlier this year, an eight-year-old was charged under this law.

The GSP+ status allows products to enter the EU market from developing nations without any import duties. This allowed Pakistan’s export to the EU to increase from 4.538 billion euros to 7.492 billion euros, registering an increase of 65%.

It also led to Pakistan becoming the second-most important trading partner of the European Union. It also accounted for 14.3% of the total trade Pakistan conducted in 2020 and also of 28% of Pakistan’s total exports.

Pakistan’s GSP+ status is also under scrutiny due to its support to the Taliban. Former Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of aiding the terrorist group with logistics and ammunition which he said led to the quick downfall of the democratically elected government. Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi proposed that the Taliban leaders who announced an interim government on Tuesday be invited for regional multilateral forums. Qureshi chaired a meet where foreign ministers of China, Uzbekistan, Iran, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan - all neighbours of Afghanistan - convened to discuss the latest developments in the country.

The European Union also shot a warning to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan saying that the interim government it announced lacks inclusivity and representation.

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