Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir has said that Pakistani exports to the European Union (EU) increased by more than a billion dollars after a landmark trade deal last year which made its products more competitive.
The EU signed a law in late 2013 granting Pakistan GSP-plus status, which means firms pay no tax on certain goods exported to the 27-nation bloc for 10 years.
“As a result of GSP-Plus, Pakistan’s exports to the EU have increased by $1.08 billion during the period January to October 2014 as compared to the same period in 2013,” Commerce Minister Dastgir Khan said in an interview with AFP.
Exports to the EU in January-October 2014 totalled $6.38 billion, up by just over 20% from the $5.3 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2013, he said.
Before GSP-Plus, textile exports faced customs tariffs of between 6.4% and 12% and leather goods and footwear up to six per cent, he said.
“Now these exports have duty-free access in EU and it has helped Pakistani products to become more competitive vis-a-vis its competitors, including Bangladesh, India and Vietnam,” he said.
Dastgir played down the possibility that resuming executions could threaten GSP-Plus status.
“There is no legal obligation to EU regarding death penalty, though they have expressed concern over it,” he said. “They understand our situation that GSP-Plus will help us create jobs and when we create jobs, it keeps young men and women away from terrorism.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2015.