Now that Pakistan has attained duty concessions under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus scheme, its industries – especially textile – has no excuse to hold themselves back from investing in value addition, experts said.
“Pakistan should move towards demand-driven exports rather than supply-driven exports,” said Zia Abbas, the staff economist from the University of Karachi.
He said this while addressing a one-day workshop on ‘The EU’s Award of GSP+ to Pakistan: Prospects for the Country’s Economy’, which was conducted at the Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation, Islamabad on Wednesday.
Citing an example, Abbas said that Pakistan is exporting more than $8 billion worth of cotton yarn and fabric to China, Bangladesh and Turkey annually, these countries are Pakistan’s main competitors in the European Union’s (EU) apparel market.
According to Abbas, Pakistan needs to develop its own raw material instead of getting it from India. Along with that the country should increase production efficiency, enhance reliable export volume and quality and invest in technology.
“During the initial two years of GSP Plus, we would enhance our exports to 10% due to the shortcomings of energy shortage in the country,” All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Yasin Siddik said, adding that if the energy situation improves, the country can enhance exports to more than 10% on an annual basis.
Pakistan needs to implement 16 United Nation (UN) and International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions on human and labour rights, and 11 relating to environmental and governance principle to continue enjoying trade concessions for a longer period of time, said Economist A B Shahid.
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) former president Majyd Aziz said that 13 European countries were not keen on granting GSP Plus status to Pakistan along with other 9 countries. This is also a veiled warning for Pakistan that in case it falls short in its commitment of implementing 27 international conventions, it may lose trade concessions under the GSP Plus scheme in the EU.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2014.
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