LAHORE: European Union Ambassador Androulla Kaminara has stressed the need for more value addition and product diversity in Pakistan in an effort to tap the full potential of market access to EU member states under the GSP Plus facility as the country’s exports to the bloc have grown 62% since the grant of the status in 2014.
In a meeting hosted in honour of the EU ambassador by the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF), the envoy said the EU could assist Pakistan in expanding exports and uplifting industries by launching joint ventures in various sectors.
She outlined her focus and priorities while appreciating the talent and potential of the Pakistani nation. She suggested that Pakistani businessmen should reach out to the outside world in order to highlight the potential of their products, which would help attract more investment and promote trade.
She stressed that both Pakistan and EU countries should focus on diversification for improving trade and identify more potential areas of mutual cooperation.
The ambassador gave assurances to the APBF that her embassy would be in touch with the forum in order to deepen bilateral ties.
“Pakistan can make more progress by putting in best efforts for the development of skilled workforce and the EU can also take some positive steps to support the country,” the envoy said.
The proposal of holding a conference and seminar in collaboration with the APBF on the ease of doing business and climate change also came up for discussion.
Speaking on the occasion, APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood pointed out that EU countries had been the most important trading partners of Pakistan, accounting for almost 33% of Pakistan’s total exports.
Terming bilateral trade ties encouraging, he said trade with EU states had been going upwards. “Exports to the EU grew from $7 billion to $8 billion in the last fiscal year,” he said, adding that textile products dominated Pakistan’s exports with more than 75% share in total shipments to the bloc.
He underlined the need for greater diversity in exports to the EU by targeting carpets, leather and its products, furniture, plastic, sports goods and agri-products.
He told the envoy that Special Economic Zones were being established in Pakistan and the country had improved infrastructure facilities in that regard.
“We have taken a number of initiatives to ensure compliance with the 27 international conventions (under the GSP Plus programme) by enacting new laws and taking corrective measures both at planning and implementation stages to combat environmental issues too,” he said.
“Relevant labour laws are being enforced by the Labour and Human Resource Department and the EU Parliament has also expressed satisfaction over the progress.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2019.