ISLAMABAD  - The Ministry of Commerce will establish GSP Plus Support Mechanism Unit which will partner with the private sector and Non-Governmental Organisations working in the field of human rights to project the initiatives taken to better the human rights record in Pakistan.

The Ministry will also train officials in the provincial law, human rights, minorities, women rights and other relevant departments to compile achievements made at the legislative front in the human rights. This was decided in a meeting of the Treaty Implementation Cell which was chaired by the Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan. Advisor to Prime Minister on Law, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, representatives of Ministry of Law, Foreign Affairs, Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Climate Change, Anti Narcotics Force, FIA and Provincial Law Departments participated in the meeting.

The incentives granted by the European Union to Pakistan through GSP Plus comes under the head of 'Special Incentives for Sustainable Development and Good Governance'. Last year, Prime Minister established a Treaty Implementation Cell which is headed by Ashtar Ausaf Ali to oversee the implementation of UN Conventions on human rights in all the constituent units of Pakistan.

Ministry of Commerce is in close coordination with the EU as well as with its 28 member countries individually in order to get their support to enhance Pakistan's exports to EU countries. Before the GSP Plus review which is scheduled next year, the Ministry will initiate an intense lobbying diplomacy wherein the Minister and the Secretary will hold meetings with the Members of European Parliament and European Commission to portray the benefits of the GSP Plus for Pakistani nation. They will also apprise them of the brisk pace of legislative reforms in the field of human rights undertaken by all the constituent units of Pakistan.

The Minister informed the meeting that GSP Plus status has a positive effect on the industrial sector of Pakistan. The trickle-down effect of the trade incentives are reaching the lowest tiers of workers which will effectively result in youth and women empowerment in the country, the Minister said. He was of the view that since the implementation of GSP Plus, the EU was noticed positively in Pakistan for its support in facilitating exports.

Pakistan's inclusion in the EU GSP Plus scheme offers immense benefits in terms of increase in exports. It is heartening to know that initially the trade analysts had estimated an overall growth of almost 15pc in Pakistan's exports to EU but the growth in exports since the implementation of GSP Plus has been around 21pc. Sectors like articles of leather, ethanol, fresh and processed fruits also have the potential to take advantage of the duty free access and record healthy growths.