LAHORE – Head of EU delegation Guido Dolara has said that the time till October is crucial for Pakistan to show tangible results as the draft of report for GSP plus Status will be prepared in that month.
He was talking to the LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion.
Guido Dolara said that Pakistan is large beneficiary of GSP Plus. However, there are many areas where potential is still untapped. He said that LCCI can play an important part in helping the SME sector to realize the potential of GSP Plus.
“We are close to finalizing the monetary report and this report will be completed by October”, he said, adding that the current GSP Plus scheme will expire in December 2023.
He said that the rules for the next GSP scheme are being debated by the legislators. The beneficiary countries will have to re-apply for the scheme. The past record of compliance would be given due weightage.
“It is important that the business community is in contact with the government. So that the implementation in the areas like labour rights and environment can be improved”, he added. Mian Nauman Kabir said that GSP Plus status holds paramount importance for Pakistan’s economy as it has played an important role in expansion of bilateral trade. Due to the GSP Plus status, 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.
He said that European Union has also been benefiting from GSP Plus as it has enabled the businesses in 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 bilateral trade means more jobs, reduction in poverty, better working conditions, promotion of sustainable policies and improvement of the macro-economic indicators of Pakistan. I am glad to mention that Pakistan’s exports to EU, facilitated by GSP plus account for more than 35 percent of the country’s total exports.
He said that in this context, the extension of GSP plus status for Pakistan holds great significance for our economy. A strong EU-Pakistan relationship, with GSP plus at its core, supports Pakistan’s economic and social development including poverty reduction, human development, environmental protection, good governance and women empowerment.
The LCCI president said that significant percentage of female workers in Pakistan is engaged with textile sector. The continuity of GSP Plus status for coming years will 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.
Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan’s exports to EU are heavily dominated by textiles which account for more than 75% of Pakistan’s exports to EU. He said that the GSP plus has resulted in significant development of the textile Industry in Pakistan which now provides employment to about 40 percent of industrial labor force and contributes more than 60 percent to national exports.
He said that the GSP Plus plays a key role in Pakistan’s trajectory to a greener future as several legislative and policy actions have been taken in this connection. The government’s policy of increasing the share of electricity through renewable sources would play an important role in improving our environment, making the energy mix more cost-effective and ultimately reducing the cost of doing business.
Mian Nauman Kabir said that the European Commission is revamping the GSP Plus by adding several new conventions pertaining to human rights, labour rights and governance etc. “We are extremely hopeful of becoming a part of the new generation GSP Plus scheme (2024 to 2034) and focus more on medium to hi-tech industries, especially related to the Engineering sector in Pakistan for enhancing our exports to EU”, he added.
He said that private sector will play its due role and extend maximum support to the government in maintaining the ratifications of the EU conventions and meeting the reporting obligations. In this connection, the close liaison of the private sector with GSP Plus Monitoring mission is very important.
— to nation.com.pk