Sunday May 28, 2023

EU expands list of Pakistan’s products eligible for tax concessions

By our correspondents
October 18, 2017

ISLAMABAD: European Union (EU) conferred a couple of more Pakistani products with a duty-free access under the generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) Plus status after the government took measures to improve its compliance with human rights standards, officials said on Tuesday.   

“The GSP Plus facility has enhanced eligibility of Pakistani products for duty free access on additional 66 percent EU’s tariff lines and provided level-playing field to our goods vis-à-vis similar products from competitors who have very liberal arrangements with the EU,” an official told Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during a meeting. 

The meeting was held to review the impact of GSP Plus regime on Pakistan’s trade and attended by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, minister for foreign affairs, Miftah Ismail, special advisor to prime minister on economic affairs and senior officials.

The EU grants zero duties for 66 percent of its tariff lines for countries, which ratify and effectively implement core international human and, labour rights, environment and good governance conventions. Currently, there are 13 beneficiaries, said an EU document.

The meeting said various measures taken by the government, including setting up of a treaty implementation cell, establishment of independent national commission on human rights, activation of commissions on women as well as children rights and several legislation passed by the federal and provincial assemblies have significantly contributed in improving country’s image internationally.

The meeting expressed satisfaction over an upward trajectory in trade volume under GSP Plus regime, which recorded a 38.55 percent increase since 2013. The meeting also reviewed the preparations for 2nd biennial review of the GSP Plus facility, which would be held in January 2018.

Pakistan entered the GSP Plus club from January 1, 2014, enabling it to export goods to 27 European countries without any duties. Under the facility, almost 20 percent of Pakistani exports enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70 percent at preferential rates. The facility is valid until 2023.

EU accounts for 25 percent of Pakistan’s exports and 10 percent of imports. The bilateral trade volume is around $11 billion. Pakistan exports mainly textiles and leather products to EU and imports mechanical and electrical machinery, chemical and pharmaceutical products.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi directed officials to work together in resolving issues in a way to further cementing Pakistan-EU trade partnership and to secure greater access for the Pakistani products in the international markets.

The meeting also discussed various measures to further strengthen trade partnership between Pakistan and EU. Meanwhile, Pervaiz Malik, minister for commerce and textiles said the GSP Plus has brought benefits to Pakistan in terms of trade expansion as well as to EU countries whose exports to Pakistan have increased as the demand for machinery and other material used in manufacturing has also increased with rising exports in the EU. 

A statement said Malik is currently visiting Belgium for a two-day tour to Europe. His visit to Belgium is focused on the EU in the perspective of GSP Plus status for Pakistan. Commerce minister, during a meeting with Jean Lambert, chair of the South Asia Delegation in the EU Parliament and Stavros Lambrinidis, EU special representative for human rights in Brussels, discussed various steps taken by Pakistan to meet the major objectives of GSP Plus, including poverty eradication by expanding exports, promotion of sustainable development and good governance.