The European Union on Tuesday thumbed up Pakistan's request for duty-free access to European markets, paving way for the country's acquisition of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status.
The Ministry of Commerce tweeted that the EU Parliament's International Trade Committee had voted 17-12-1 in favour of Pakistan's inclusion:
ALLAH'S BLESSINGS >EU Parliament's International Trade Committee has voted in favour of proposed 10-country pkg~including Pakistan~for GSP+— PakCommerceMinistry (@CommercePkMoS) November 5, 2013
EU Parliament International Trade Committee (INTA) has voted 17-12-1 to reject resolution blocking 10 countries~including Pakistan~from GSP+— PakCommerceMinistry (@CommercePkMoS) November 5, 2013
According to the ministry, Pakistan may now enter the GSP+ club from January 1, 2014, a prospect likely to create one million new Pakistani jobs.
Probable grant of European Union's GSP+ to Pakistan is likely to create a million jobs for Pakistani youth & boost exports by $500 million— PakCommerceMinistry (@CommercePkMoS) November 5, 2013
The European parliament was considering the GSP+ package for 10 developing countries in all.
The GSP Plus is granted to those countries that ratify and implement international conventions relating to human and labour rights, environment and good governance. The EU has been closely watching Pakistan’s human rights record and also fiercely opposes the death penalty.
Exporters from various industries in Pakistan including textile were anxiously hoping for access to European markets, which promises huge potential for multiplying the country's current exports.
Industrialist and former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce Majyd Aziz tweeted in this regard:
EU Parliament approves GSP Plus for #Pakistan . . . . We move one step higher— MAJYD AZIZ (@MajydAziz) November 5, 2013