Pakistan needs to market new products in EU, says envoy

Country's two-year performance to be reviewed for extension of GSP Plus

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Ambassador of European Union (EU) to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said on Thursday that Pakistan needs to introduce new products to enhance its exports to European Union.

Kaminara has said that the two-year performance report of Pakistan would be reviewed soon and a decision would be made about extension of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan.

The diplomat stated that the European Commission had tabled the next generation of GSP Plus, pointing out that five new conventions had been added. “It is a good omen that Pakistan is a signatory and it is Pakistan that most successfully used the GSP Plus status,” she noted while adding that “we are ready to help Pakistan expand its exports to the European Union and would like to be its partner in this regard”.

She expressed these views during a meeting with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI) leadership on Thursday. The ambassador pledged that the EU would continue engaging with partners, including Pakistan, to address the common challenge of climate change. She stated that the European Union was particularly focusing on the SME sector of Pakistan. Pakistani products are the best and could easily make their way to EU markets, Kaminara observed. “New products and joint ventures can play a vital role in this regard,” she added.

While warmly welcoming the EU ambassador, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that the European Parliament extended the GSP plus status for Pakistan till 31st December 2023, which was a great initiative. In these challenging economic times. Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, Vice President Haris Ateeq, former LCCI Presidents Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Tahir Javed Malik and Executive Committee members also spoke on the occasion.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that the European Union was the second most important trading partner of Pakistan. According to the trade figures available on ITC World Trade Map, Pakistan’s exports to EU stood at 7.96 Billion Dollars in 2020 while our imports from EU in the same period were $4.1 billion.

The LCCI president said that these trade figures essentially mean that EU accounts for about 14% of Pakistan’s total trade volume and around 31% of Pakistan’s total exports. In this context, the extension of GSP plus status for Pakistan till 31st December 2023 held great significance for Pakistan’s economy.

The LCCI President said that Pakistan’s exports to EU were heavily dominated by textiles which account for more than 75% of exports. Pakistan’s major imports from EU comprised of machinery, transport equipment and chemicals. “There is a need for greater product diversity in Pakistan’s exports to EU. The potential areas where Pakistan can enhance its exports to EU are leather products, furniture, carpets, plastics, sports goods and rice, etc,” he added.

He also said, “It is a steady feature of Pakistan’s trade with European Union that almost 71% of our total Exports go to just five countries namely United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Italy.”

The LCCI President added that we look forward to finding more opportunities of market penetration in other countries like Greece, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Finland and Ireland etc., where Pakistan’s export are relatively much low.

Kabir said that they also needed to exploit the trade potential by exporting agro-based processed foods to EU in collaboration with European companies through joint ventures and transfer of technology. He said that to enhance our exports to EU, it was imperative that they train the SMEs in Pakistan about the latest trends in textile, fashion and also the other potential sectors like leather, furniture, and carpets. “We would request you to bring the famous brands in these sectors to Pakistan for training our SMEs. LCCI is willing to extend maximum support and cooperation to the EU Embassy in this connection,” he asked the EU ambassador.

Fida Hussnain is a correspondent covering judiciary, politics, business and health issues. He is also a feature writer and researcher with major work on freedom of press in Pakistan. He tweets @fidahassanain and can be reached at