Sustainable development through trade – Case study: Pakistan’s GSP+ and the red meat market

Chartier, Josephine

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The European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences+ (GSP+) trade scheme intends to promote sustainable development through trade for those countries that deserve some trade promotion for their special achievements regarding fundamental political goals. Whereas the political achievements specifically contemplated by the preferential trade scheme are normally the ones under direct scrutiny, it is also important to evaluate a country’s dynamics according to other criteria: the global environmental impact is a case in point. This paper aims to analyse the EU’s indirect incentive to Pakistan’s exports of red meat – specifically, beef. Pakistan, already a major casings provider to the EU, started exporting red meat amidst the GSP+’s implementation – and has been seeking to further integrate the European’s red meat market. Whereas it might make sense to maintain those existing derogations under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that provide incentives to red meat production which follows a range of high environmental and rural development standards, there are several reasons to disincentivise these productions. Red meat production carries considerable damaging environmental effects – including the depletion of water resources and reduction of water quality. Here Pakistan constitutes a case in point because of its water-stress situation – that alone justifies restrictions, not incentives, to red meat production in the country. International institutions such as the FAO warn us yet and again about the unsustainability of both the production and consumption of red meat due to its impacts on water resources. The EU so aligns its public discourse. However, after reviewing numerous academic papers, reports, and official documentation, we find that actual policy fails to match the rhetoric. Lifting custom duties for various animal products under the GSP+ without proper environmental impact assessments constitutes a telling example. Furthermore, the funding of ‘pro-meat’ campaigns increases incentives to the livestock sector and does not favour a shift away from red meat consumption. Incoherencies in EU policies may work against the shift from animal-based diets towards more sustainable (plant-based) diets. This paper explores some possible solutions for correcting these inconsistencies and improve a water-sustainable combination between supply and demand of red meat.

Document type: Article
Publisher: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Place of Publication: Brussels
Date: 2021
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021
Number of Pages: 14
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Political science
Commerce, communications, transport
Controlled Keywords: Europa, Pakistan, Rindfleisch, Rinderzucht, Umweltbelastung
Uncontrolled Keywords: Europäische Union, Pakistan, Viehzucht, Rindfleisch, Nachhaltigkeit, GSP+ Wasser, Umwelt / European Union, Pakistan, Livestock, Beef, Sustainability, GSP+ water, environment
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: Pakistan
other countries
Series: Themen > SADF Focus
Volume: 68
Additional Information: DOI: 10.48251/SADF.ISSN.2406-5633.F68 (der Erstausgabe)