In a letter to Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and to EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today called for easier access to the EU internal market for products from Pakistan.
In his letter Westerwelle stated that
“the EU must do everything possible to mitigate the impact of the disastrous floods in Pakistan on the country’s economic and social development. Humanitarian aid can only be a first step.
People in Pakistan must be given the chance to make the most of their country’s economic potential,” he explained, “and through self-sustaining growth to build a brighter economic future. Both in terms of the cohesion of Pakistan’s society and in security policy terms this is a goal of crucial importance.”
The aim of the initiative is to give Pakistan preferential access to the EU market under the so-called GSP plus Regulation. GSP plus denotes the most extensive preference regime the EU operates for third countries (apart from the regime for the world’s poorest countries). The current Regulation applies only to countries whose trade with the EU comprises no more than 1% of all imports into the EU receiving preferential tariff treatment. If the ceiling for imports receiving preferential tariff treatment were to be raised from 1% to 1.5%, this would open the way for Pakistan to apply for the special preferences under the GSP plus regime.