Sunday December 05, 2021

Pakistan committed to GSP Plus conventions, adviser to EU

September 10, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday assured the European Union (EU) to comply with all the requisites for continuation of duty-free exports to the 27-nation bloc.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood said the implementation of 27 conventions under generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) plus is important for Pakistan for long-term national and social benefits. “Pakistan has stayed focused and will adhere to the agreed timelines, despite the difficulties caused by Covid-19 pandemic,” Dawood said during a meeting with Ambassador of the EU to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss various matters related to GSP plus and different avenues of cooperation between Pakistan and EU, particularly for development of small and medium enterprises, promotion of culture and tourism industries.

The EU signed a law in late 2013 granting GSP plus status to Pakistan to pay no taxes on certain categories of goods exported to the bloc for 10 years. The EU makes GSP plus conditional on implementing international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance. Textile industry, making up more than 60 percent of the country’s total overseas shipments, is biggest beneficiary of the agreement. Before GSP-plus, textile exports faced customs tariffs of between 6.4 and 12 percent and leather goods and footwear up to six percent, the envoy said. Trade officials estimate Pakistan benefited around $15 billion from GSP plus since the start of the facility.

On future cooperation, Dawood said there is a lot of potential in northern areas for locals to expand the tourist infrastructure. He also endorsed the idea for promotion of IT sector, which is posting a good growth and is being promoted under the patronage of the Government, under the e-commerce policy.

The adviser said building of a closer relationship with the EU markets will require more brainstorming.

Kaminara discussed various ideas for providing support to the freelancers in IT sector, handicrafts and tourism, with the focus on creating linkages within the European Union to open new markets for the products and services. Secretary commerce apprised the ambassador of various developments. He said a lot of emphasis is already put on development of small and medium enterprise under the ‘Pakistan Goes Global’ project and the strategic trade policy framework 2020-25. The meeting ended with the both sides agreeing to hold more meetings and explore more avenues of cooperation.