Addressing the EU’s GSP+ Dilemma – An Assessment of Pakistan’s GSP+ Status

The EU’s beneficial trade scheme for vulnerable, low-income countries, the GSP+ framework, is currently under review. Meant to aid developing countries’ efforts of lifting their most deprived parts of society out of poverty, it is supposed to incentivise social and environmental conditions in countries such as Pakistan. Yet, there is plenty of criticism revolving around transparency, objectivity and effectiveness of the framework. This EIAS Policy Brief examines areas of potential improvement of the scheme along the case of Pakistan.

First introduced in 1971, following the first and second UNCTAD[1] conferences, the European Union’s General Scheme of Preferences (GSP) aimed to reduce poverty by supporting developing countries’ integration into the global market. The EU’s GSP framework has undergone considerable change and has continuously been amended over the years. As of today, it is composed of 3 distinct schemes, which apply to different groups of countries mostly based on their development status as assessed by the World Bank. 

The EU is in the process of reviewing its GSP, GSP+ and EBA schemes for 2024-2034 as the current framework expires at the end of 2023. This EIAS Policy Brief will provide an overview of the GSP+ programme by using the case of Pakistan, which is one of the 6 current GSP+ beneficiaries in Asia, along with Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, the Philippines and Uzbekistan. You can read the Policy Brief here.

Author: Tom Wilms, EIAS Junior Researcher

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons/ILO