ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Friday informed the Senate that European Union (EU) extended its Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)-Plus facility to Pakistan until 2023.
Speaking during the Question Hour, Dawood said that as a result of the EU’s “Special Incentive Arrangement for Good Governance and Sustainable Development”, Pakistan had been given the GSP-Plus facility, allowing Pakistani products a duty-free access to EU on 91% tariff lines.
Pakistan’s total trade with the EU in 2018-19 was worth $14,158.29 million with exports amounting to $7,986.11 million against imports of $ 6,172.18 million. He added the trade balance of $1,813.93 million in 2018-19 remained in favour of Pakistan.
“This arrangement has helped Pakistani products to compete successfully with similar products originating from other competitors, such as China, India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Vietnam etc,” Dawood told the house.
Pakistan committed to global HR conventions
“Pakistani products have duty-free access on 91% of EU’s tariff lines to all 27-member states [of the continental bloc] since January 1, 2014,” he said. “The preferential access sectors include textiles, leather, surgical and sports goods and also non-traditional sectors including light engineering dry fruits, marble, handicrafts, and pharmaceutical.”
According to the adviser, the GSP-Plus had been granted to Pakistan for 10 years -- from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2023. He said the GSP-Plus was linked to the implementation of 27 UN Conventions
“A biennial review is carried out by the EU to monitor the compliance of Pakistan with its treaty obligations,” Dawood said. “Three biennial reviews have been successfully concluded in 2016, 2018 and 2020 and the GSP-Plus facility for Pakistan will continue.”
He told the house that the concerns raised by the EU regarding human rights, labour rights, climate change and governance, in its Third Biennial Review Report had already been shared with the quarters concerned.
“Continued compliance with the 27 UN Conventions is mandatory for Pakistan to retain this status as GSP-Plus is very important for Pakistan. The continuation of this facility is the collective responsibility of media, politicians and business community,” he added.
Responding to a supplementary question, Dawood said Pakistan has got orders for the export of personal protective equipment. The adviser said the country’s fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry exports to the Middle Eastern countries witnessed 36% growth over the last 12 months.
Responding to another question, Dawood said Pakistan enjoyed close and cordial relations with Turkey and was negotiating a free-trade agreement with it to promote trade relations.