LAHORE: The European Union will help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get the maximum benefits from GSP Plus status, a diplomat said on Wednesday.
In a meeting with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Chief Executive Officer Hashim Raza on Wednesday, EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said that the union had provided GSP Plus status under 27 conditions, and Pakistan had already ratified several conditions.
Since 2014, Pakistan’s exports to the EU have increased to a substantial level and it has a bright scope for further enhancement through SMEs.
The meeting held at SMEDA head office was also attended by Nadia Jahangir Seth, general manager policy and planning division, and Sheheryar Tahir, director external affairs department of SMEDA, whereas, the ambassador, was accompanied by her First Secretary Sven Ruesh and Counsellor Trade and Communication Daniel Clauss.
The ambassador said Pakistan’s major exports to the EU were textiles and leather. Many other areas could be accessed under the GSP Plus status, she said, adding that Pakistani entrepreneurs could focus on other sectors such as handicrafts and gems and jewellery.
There was a great potential for women entrepreneurship through SMEs, which are central to value addition. She expressed serious intention to have a persistent consultation with SMEDA to lay down special initiatives to support SMEs development process in Pakistan.
Earlier SMEDA CEO Hashim Raza apprised her about the services, projects, and special initiatives developed by the authority for growth and sustainability of the SMEs in Pakistan.
He said Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority was a group of around 120 professionals working across the country on SME development.
SMEDA functions also include assistance in business prefeasibility and planning, accounts and book-keeping, and tax and regulatory affairs, besides developing and implementing several projects to fill in the missing links in the value chain of the SMEs production and marketing.
He specially referred to the agro-food plant set up in Multan as a success story in this regard.
Regarding women entrepreneurship development in Pakistan, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority CEO said an exclusive department under a senior manager was working since 2005, under which women business incubation centre in major cities of Pakistan had graduated a number of new women entrepreneurs. Such new centres are now being established in the less-developed areas such as Gilgit-Baltistan and Dera Ismail Khan, he added.