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Exports to EU increase 17.4pc to $7.5bln in July-April

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to European Union (EU) increased 17.4 percent to $7.5 billion during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year of 2020/21, commerce adviser said on Wednesday. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood said exports to EU increased by $1.1 billion during the period.

“They increased by 17.4 percent to $7.474 billion as compared to $6.367 billion in Jul-Apr 2020,” Dawood said on Twitter.

In July-April, some of the major markets showing increase in Pakistani exports are Poland with 23 percent, Sweden (21pc) Netherlands (21pc), Germany (19pc), France (14pc), Belgium (12pc), Italy (4pc) and Spain (2pc). “EU is a very important market for us and we greatly appreciate the tireless efforts of our exporters for making this possible under very difficult conditions,” Dawood said. “We also commend the efforts of ministry of commerce’s trade and investment officers and urge them to provide even greater facilitation to our exporters and investors.”

European Union grants concessions on taxes to Pakistan’s products entering the 27-member countries under the generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) plus status. This requires Pakistan to demonstrate progress on the implementation of 27 international conventions. In April, the European parliament adopted a resolution to review the GSP plus status for Pakistan on the context that the country’s laws are discriminatory against the fundamental rights of minorities.

Last year, the European Commission GSP plus status for Pakistan till 2022. Pakistan is one of the top beneficiaries of GSP plus among nine beneficiary countries. Others include Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Philippines and Sri Lanka. Of total exports of 6.7 billion euro from Pakistan to EU in 2018, exports worth 5.8 billion euro availed tariff concessions.

Last year a report by the European Commission acknowledged Pakistan’s progress in areas of climate change, forestation, combating illegal narcotics, wildlife trade, political and administrative reforms, social protection initiatives, inter-faith harmony and rights of women, children and transgender.

Under GSP plus, the EU’s imports from Pakistan have increased from $6.9 billion in 2013, but this increase has been concentrated on textile sector. Textiles and leather in 2016 made up nearly 86 percent of EU imports from Pakistan. Six countries in the EU account for 80 percent of imports from Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Business Council. Pakistan is the 8th largest exporter of textile products in Asia and these commodities account for 60 percent of the country’s total export earnings.