EU envoy says Pakistan needs to reapply for GSP+

Hails Pakistan's removal from FATF grey list

Ambassador of European Union Dr. Rina Kionka has said that “we are overjoyed with the announcement that Pakistan is out of the FATF Grey List. It has added to the overall positive narrative which we want to see much more of Pakistan”.

She was speaking at a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry here in Lahore on Monday. The Ambassador said that the successive Pakistani governments have put in a lot of effort in this achievement. She said that EU-Pakistan relations have a strategic engagement which covers all the areas including counter terrorism, trade, climate change, GSP Plus Status and various others.

She said that the 10-year period of GSP Plus is going to end and a mission is preparing the 4th and final report of the last 10 years which will be discussed in Brussels and EU Parliament. These two bodies will decide which country is eligible and which is not for GSP Plus Status. The Ambassador said that Pakistan will have to re-apply for the GSP Plus Status and the EU will inform it within the next four to five months. She said that during this period of application, Pakistan will be enjoying all facilities under GSP Plus Status.

She added that Federal Minister Syed Naveed Qamar is in Brussels and doing good lobbying work which will be useful for Pakistan. Talking about the areas identified by the LCCI, she said that the scope under GSP Plus Status to Pakistan has not been utilized. It is confined to the textile sector which should be spread to the other sectors as well. “The floods played havoc and it is a difficult time for Pakistan” She said adding that EU member countries have extended assistance in this regard. She said that EU commissioners are distributing aid in Sindh and other flood-affected areas. “The assistance will be upgraded with the passage of time”, she added. She said that Pakistan needs to develop infrastructure in order to curtail the loss of a catastrophe-like situation in future.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar extended deepest gratitude to the European Union for expressing solidarity with the people of Pakistan affected by the worst floods and extending financial assistance of 123 Million Euros as well as in-kind assistance for flood relief efforts. He also appreciated the EU’s commitment to address the climate change related challenges jointly. He appreciated the fact that the European Union has been welcoming the progress made by Pakistan in the implementation of FATF Action Plans and now, when Pakistan has been excluded from the grey list, we thank the EU for all the support extended during the process.

Kashif Anwar said that GSP Plus status holds paramounty importance for Pakistan’s Economy as it has played an important role in expansion of multilateral trade. According to the trade statistics from ITC World Trademap, Pakistan’s exports to EU, which were around 6.2 Billion Dollars in 2013, have increased over the time to 9.7 billion dollars in 2021, primarily due to the deeper market access provided by the European Union under GSP plus.

The LCCI President added that the European Union is by far the biggest destination for Pakistan’s exports as more than 30% of our exports reach the EU market. The business community is well aware that the EU continuously monitors GSP+ beneficiary countries’ effective implementation of the 27 international conventions on especially human rights, labour rights, environmental protection and good governance etc.

He said that the European Union has also been benefiting from GSP Plus as it has enabled the businesses in the EU to import high quality textile items from Pakistan at competitive prices. Furthermore Pakistan’s imports from EU also increased from 4.4 Billion Dollars in 2013 to 6.4 billion Dollars in 2021 as the Textile Industry in Pakistan has been importing Machinery from the EU.

The LCCI President said that the increased multilateral trade through GSP plus means more jobs, reduction in poverty, better working conditions, promotion of sustainable policies and improvement of the macro-economic indicators of Pakistan. In this context, the extension of GSP plus for Pakistan holds great significance for our economy. A strong EU-Pakistan relationship, with GSP plus at its core will certainly augment Pakistan’s economic and social development including poverty reduction, human development, environmental protection, good governance and women empowerment etc.

Kashif Anwar said that a significant percentage of female workers in Pakistan are engaged with the textile sector. The continuity of GSP Plus Status for coming years will surely secure their occupation, economic independence and empowerment. He said that the enhanced trade partnership with the EU through GSP Plus has empowered the private sector in Pakistan to focus much more on labor rights and improve working conditions.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here