A major setback for already-indebted Pakistan was a report’s claim that the United States is unwilling to cooperate or invest in Islamabad because of a number of issues including a dismal record on labor conditions, human rights, religious freedom and poor governance. The report described the conditions as “roadblocks” between Islamabad and its attempts to win Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) favors from the United States. According to a report by geopolitica.infoThe Biden administration plans to expand the scope of its APS program, but added that the “testimony” issued by several local and international NGOs compels the US government not to engage with Pakistan.
According to the media report, the NGOs show above all how Islamabad treats workers badly in order to ensure maximum performance. It also sheds light on other aspects such as debt bondage, child protection, women’s rights and human trafficking. The new uncertainty threatens the Shehbaz Sharif-led government, which already faces a major compliance challenge as a beneficiary of a similar incentive provided by the European Union under its GSP Plus scheme.
According to media reports, the 27-strong bloc is on the verge of adding six new conventions to the new system that could be difficult for Pakistan to comply with and implement. On the other hand, the US response to Islamabad’s regular trade and investment proposals is also not stimulating.
The Pakistani ministers campaigned for an agreement
In early June, Pakistan’s Ambassador Masood Khan held a discussion with senior United States Trade Representatives (USTR) officials, arguing for cooperation with the country. Despite this, the US side was fairly firm and definite in its expectations of such proposals.
These include the proposal to organize a long-pending meeting of the Trade and Investment Framework Council (TIFA). USTR officials appeared to have insisted on the need to hold a virtual Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) seminar; a virtual conference on supply chain management and diversification; and before that to write a joint declaration on the empowerment of women, geopolitica.info reported.