ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the European Union (EU) have agreed to enhance bilateral trade, including by addressing issues that are hampering trade and investment, improving the business climate.
This consensus was evolved at video conference between EU - Pakistan Joint Commission was held by video conference on June 16, 2021.
The plenary of the Joint Commission was preceded by sub-group meetings on Development Cooperation (25 February 2021); Trade (2 March 2021); and Democracy, Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights (1 June 2021).
The Joint Commission provided an opportunity to exchange views on all areas of cooperation between the EU and Pakistan. Pakistan underlined that the EU was a valued partner of Pakistan, being home to a large Pakistani diaspora, its biggest trading partner and a source for investment, remittances and economic assistance. The EU and Pakistan reiterated their commitment for the full and effective implementation of the EU–Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP), signed in June 2019.
The Joint Commission discussed the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The humanitarian assistance provided by the European Union was highly appreciated. The ongoing vaccination programmes and future cooperation in vaccines were also discussed. Pakistan’s efforts for sustainable economic recovery were also highlighted.
They also exchanged views on climate change, where the EU informed Pakistan about the European Green Deal, connectivity and digitalisation, and Pakistan briefed about various climate projects, including eco-system restoration, green stimulus and national electric vehicle policy. They also discussed cooperation in the fields of education, culture, science and technology. The Joint Commission also provided an opportunity to discuss migration and mobility and to follow up on the discussions of the EU-Pakistan Joint Readmission Committee, which was held on 24 February 2021.
According to an official statement, the EU and Pakistan agreed to enhance bilateral trade, including by addressing issues that are hampering trade and investment, improving the business climate, and Pakistan’s efforts towards full implementation of the 27 international conventions stipulated under the EU’s unilateral trade preferences scheme, the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+). Pakistan acknowledged the extension of its GSP+ status as a mutually rewarding step and affirmed its full commitment to fulfil its obligations under the GSP plus. Pakistan underlined the relevant measures and actions taken since September last year.
On development cooperation, the EU and Pakistan appreciated encouraging progress. Pakistan appreciated the EU’s decision to re-orient its development assistance to support Pakistan’s efforts to tackle effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Joint Commission also exchanged views on priorities of future development cooperation.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021