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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the European Union (EU) will reportedly hold Pak-EU Joint Commission meeting in Brussels (Belgium) on 23 June, 2023, which will cover trade, political, regional issues, readmission/return of Pakistanis entering into Europe illegally, aviation and other matters, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

On Monday, the Ministry of Economic Affairs held a preparatory inter-ministerial meeting to finalize Pakistan’s viewpoint on different issues.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, European Union imports from Pakistan were $9.94 billion during 2022, European Union Imports from Pakistan - data, historical chart and statistics - was last updated on June of 2023.

Significant boost in exports likely: UBG: PM felicitated on two-year extension in GSP Plus status

An analysis conducted by Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Pakistan’s bilateral trade with the EU in two periods– 2007-2013 and 2014-2022. The findings indicate that Pakistan’s exports to the EU have increased from an aggregate USD 37 billion (2007-13) to an aggregate USD 66 billion (2014-2022) compared to its exports to the world, ie, from an aggregate USD 150 billion to USD 217 billion in the same period.

After expiry of GSP plus in December this year, new GSP Scheme (2024 -34), the European Union will start new GSP scheme (2024- 34) announced on September 22, 2021.

The new proposed scheme aims to improve key features of the scheme to better respond to the evolving needs and challenges of GSP countries, as well as, reinforce the scheme’s social, labour, environmental and climate dimension. It will be in place for ten years. There is an expansion in the list of International Conventions from 27 to 32 that beneficiary countries will have to ratify and implement.

The sources said, both sides will discuss political and economic development. Pakistani side will take the lead on economic and social developments in Pakistan whereas EU officials will update the meeting on economic and social developments in Pakistan.

According to sources, European officials will brief on political developments in Europe while Pakistani delegation will update the European Union on political developments including the run up to elections.

Both sides will also discuss peace and security cooperation between the European Union member countries. The regional issues include Afghanistan (EU lead), China (EU lead), Russia (EU lead) and Jammu-Kashmir (Pak lead). Counter terrorism and update from the EU-Pakistan CT dialogue (Pak lead).

The European Union will raise issues like democracy, rule of law, good governance and human rights. Both sides will conclude the discussion on rule of law from the sub-group and brief exchange.

The sub-group will present its reports on trade and investment and briefly exchange their views. Both sides will discuss migration and mobility (EU lead) issues, migration cooperation, including readmission/returns, fight against irregular migration and border management, legal migration, refugees in view of the recent EU-Pakistan Migration and Mobility dialogue and Joint Readmission Committee, regional and multilateral cooperation (including Solution, Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR).

Islamabad and Brussels will deliberate on development cooperation and connectivity (EU lead), ie, conclusions from the sub-group and brief exchange, connectivity (EU lead), Aviation (Pak lead) as PIA’s flights to European countries are still banned and digitalization (Pak-lead).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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