Textile exporters, while welcoming the European parliament’s decision to grant Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan, have expressed fears that the country is unlikely to fully utilise the trade concessions because of the severe energy crisis.
“Textile exporters will not benefit from the concessions unless the government takes serious measures to address energy shortages that have held back the industry,” said Rana Arif Tauseef, Chairman of Pakistan Textile Exporters Association while talking to the media here on Wednesday.
He said Pakistan was trying hard to win the GSP Plus status to enhance exports to the EU and this would be a good sign for the ailing value-added textile industry. He described the concessions progressive and realistic support to Pakistan’s textile sector.
Sounding upbeat, Tauseef, however, said the textile industry had the potential to achieve the export target after getting duty-free access to European markets, but at the same time cautioned that much would depend on regular supply of gas and electricity to the manufacturing units.
The EU decision would help Pakistan build its capacity to become a more effective and competitive force in international economic relations, he said, adding this would create more opportunities in the domestic industry, leading to competitiveness, job growth, exchange of technological knowhow, development of skills and empowerment of people to meet challenges.
Tauseef asked the government to complete groundwork to ensure that 27 international conventions relating to good governance, human rights and sustainable development, which are connected with the EU’s GSP Plus scheme, were complied with. “If Pakistan is able to meet all the criteria, its exports to the EU under concessionary tariff lines will receive duty-free treatment from 2014 onwards,” he said.
Tauseef pointed out that the EU was Pakistan’s traditional market and the GSP Plus concessions would help boost exports and increase trade volume with the 27-nation bloc.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2012.
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