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EU mission lauds Govt efforts to eliminate child, bonded labour

Terming it as a significant improvement, the European Union’s GSP Plus Assessment Mission has applauded Government of Pakistan’s efforts in introducing legislation for elimination of child and bonded labour from the country.

This was expressed at a meeting of Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) held here the other day and chaired by Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan. The objective of the meeting was to apprise the Mission on the achievements made by Pakistan in the areas of human, labour, women and child rights, climate change, anti-corruption, and anti-narcotics.

The four-member Assessment Mission, led by Mr. Gus Houttuin, Advisor of the European External Actions Services (EEAS), and comprising of Mr. Dietmar Krissler, Mr. Andreas Julin, DG Trade Unit European Commission (EC) and Mr. Rudi Delarue, DG Employment EC, is currently visiting Pakistan to assess the implementation of 27 UN Conventions covered under the GSP Plus agreement and the way forward.

GSP Plus is a unique system of concessions developed by the EU. No other market in the world offers such liberal concessions i.e., duty-free access to more than 90 percent products unilaterally to a few developing countries in return for the commitment of the beneficiary countries to adopt and implement principles of good governance and sustainable development, as enshrined in 27 Core Conventions of United Nations.

The Minister informed the delegation that GSP Plus has helped Pakistan exports to EU registered an impressive increase of 34 percent in 2014 over 2013, 10 percent in 2015 over 2014 and over 8 percent during the first five months of the year 2016 over the same period in 2015.

He said that EU is the largest market for Pakistani goods in the world and under GSP Plus, Pakistani goods have duty free access in 27 EU member states.

“In the backdrop of the fact that many of our competitors are rapidly entering into Free Trade Agreements with EU, the significance of GSP Plus for Pakistan becomes even more pronounced,” he added.

The minister further added that ever since the return of democracy in Pakistan, it is the top priority of the successive government to ensure that the benefits of development through trade are shared with the people of Pakistan as the fulfillment of its sacred obligation under the constitution of Pakistan.

The delegation was told that the Prime Minister has accordingly set up the TIC to ensure that the treaty obligations of Pakistan towards UN Conventions are given top priority.

“It is Prime Minister’s vision to provide decent working conditions to our people; men and women across Pakistan who are not only partners in prosperity but also most important stakeholders, without any discrimination, to eradicate child labour, to ensure universal primary enrollment and 100 percent retention,” said the Minister.