The European Union (EU) is proposing to add five pacts to strengthen the scheme’s social, labor, environmental, and climatic components, as the current framework expires at the end of 2023, in order to tighten sanctions on Pakistan’s conformity under GSP Plus.

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) released a statement on April 21, 2022, urging Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar to get personally involved in this “national importance” matter.

According to the local media, if the government fails to secure a GSP Plus extension for them beyond 2023, the country will lose about $3 billion in annual export value.

The new Pakistani government, led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, inherited a sluggish economy, which is exacerbated by the country’s industries’ poor performance.

According to local media, the GSP plus arrangement, which was given for ten years (2014-2023), provided Pakistan duty-free access to almost 66 percent of its exports to the EU.

Nevertheless, with the present framework set to expire at the end of 2023, the EU is proposing to add five pacts to reinforce the scheme’s social, labor, environmental, and climate components.

According to European Times, the extra treaties address disability rights, children’s involvement in armed conflict, labor inspection, and transnational organized crime, among other topics.

The Pakistan Mission in Brussels has also been seen seeking to revive parliamentary engagements and contacts. According to European Times, Islamabad is also attempting to broaden its reach among individual European policymakers.

Moreover, local NGOs, academics, trade unions, and civil society organizations in Pakistan continue to raise concerns about labor conditions, such as bonded labor and human trafficking, pointing to a significant gap between Pakistan’s commitment to enforce the core convention and actual compliance.

A London-based media outlet previously broadcast a show asking for the suspension of Pakistan’s preferential GSP Plus trading status with the European Commission, which was granted by the EU parliament in April 2021, citing persistent human rights violations in the country.

With such inconsistencies in place, European Times said that Pakistan’s goal of getting another extension of GSP Plus for its exports seemed tough to achieve.