SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today [Thursday] welcomed a vote in the European Parliament to extend the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (“GSP+”) to ten non-EU countries, including Pakistan.
GSP+ grants additional trade preferences to countries which commit to human and labour rights, protect the environment and promote good governance.
Commenting after the vote, Mr Smith said:
“The extension of GSP+ to Pakistan is good news for Scotland, the EU and Pakistan itself in terms of trade, but also in terms of raising standards in Pakistan. It is a real world example of EU “soft power” encouraging long term change and progress, not by guns and tanks and bombs but by quiet effective diplomacy.
“GSP+ is also not a blank cheque, it commits the EU and the country to regular dialogue and inspection of how the standards are being implemented, not just on paper.
“The EU, via the EU External Action Service, is increasingly speaking with one increasingly effective voice, as the Iran nuclear deal and progress in the Western Balkans proved. We saw just this week heartfelt praise by the Malian President for the EU engagement in the Sahel region of Africa. At the UN in New York, the EU delegation is, right now, one of the key policy players.
“Scotland is already part of this, and in a world where borders matter less, power counts for more, and it is all the more vital to speak with our own voice, as Scotland.”