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June 15, 2019

EU keen on strengthening trade ties with Pakistan: Envoy


June 15, 2019

PESHAWAR: Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain on Friday said the European Union (EU) was keen on strengthening trade ties with Pakistan and urged upon the businessmen to play proactive role for the implementation of all the conventions of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP- Plus) enabling Pakistan to avail full benefits from the exclusive status.

The EU ambassador was speaking at a meeting at the Chamber House, the head office of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here.

SCCI president Faiz Muhammad Faizi presided over the meeting while the SCCI senior vice-president Saad Khan Zahid, vice-president Haris Mufti, former president Zahidullah Shinwari, the chamber executive body members, and a number of businessmen, exporters and traders attended the meeting.

The EU ambassador, while speaking on the occasion, said the GSP- Plus would play a major role in increasing Pakistan exports to EU countries which had extended to Pakistan since Jan 1, 2014, allowing preferential access to Pakistani manufacturing products (mostly zero duties on two-thirds of all product categories) to EU markets. But, he said that Pakistan was not taking full benefits from the GSP Plus scheme. He pledged that the EU would continue extending support and cooperation to Pakistan to help it fulfill all the conditions of the GSP-Plus status. He pointed out that the EU was keen to establish strong trade relations with Pakistan and stressed the need for taking effective measures to boost mutual trade ties.

Jean-Francois said the EU wanted to extend economic and trade ties with Pakistan. He said that the EU and Pakistan have engaged under a comprehensive plan to extend cooperation and collaboration in various sectors, aiming at promotion of durable economic development in Pakistan.

Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Faizi urged the EU to play its role in removal of irritants and difficulties obstructing bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He praised the financial and technical assistance for skills development, health and education sectors as well as natural calamity.

The SCCI chief briefed the visiting diplomat on investment potentials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and urged foreign companies to take advantage of the same by investing in the province.

Faizi lauded the EU for its support to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Technical Education and Vocational Training Agency (KP-TEVTA) and expressed the hope that the assistance would continue.

However, he expressed concern over low exports to the EU markets despite the GSP-Plus status and stressed that need for complete implementation of all the conventions of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP- Plus) to enable Pakistan reap full benefits of the EU awarded GSP Plus Status.

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