In December 2013, the European Commission granted Pakistan with Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status giving tariff free access to certain Pakistani goods to the EU markets. Under the GSP Plus status, Pakistan benefits from generous tariff preferences (mostly zero duties on two third of all product categories). This has significantly boosted EU-Pakistan trade relations and increased Pakistan’s exports to EU by 38% since 2014. However, earlier this month, Italian Senators have raised concerns regarding deteriorating human rights situation in Pakistan and have suggested to the European Union (EU) to suspend Pakistan’s GSP Plus status until it stops supporting terror outfits and persecution of women, children and minorities in its territory.
As the final review report on renewal of GSP Plus status awarded to Pakistan is yet to come out, Italian Senators have raised questions on the unsatisfactory measures taken by Pakistani government to control human rights violations lately. On December 05, members of the Italian Senate, Cosimo Sibilla, Domenico De Saino, Enzo Fasano, Franco Cardiello, and Domenico Auricchio asked Italy’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Economic Development minister to block support for Pakistan’s attempts to renew its GSP Plus status in EU until it fulfills its responsibility of safeguarding human rights and provides protection to minorities and underprivileged communities.