Engr. Daroo Khan Achakzai, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to take all necessary measures in compliance of core international conventions pertaining to social compliance, including human rights, labor rights, environment and good governance, which are pre requisite for the continuation of GSP Plus status to Pakistan.
While highlighting the importance of GSP Plus, he stated that Pakistan is the major beneficiary of GSP Plus from EU, which is the second largest trading partner of Pakistan after USA and has positive trade balance with the bloc. He stated that GSP Plus allows 20 percent of Pakistani exports to enter EU market at zero tariff and 70 percent at preferential rates and it was expected that Pakistan’s exports to the EU would increase by 20 percent or more during the next few years.
EU GSP Plus granted in 2013 and since then our export has increased to US$ 7.9 billion from US$ 6.2 billion but this increase is only in textile and clothing while the exports of many products like carpet, pharmaceutical, iron & steel, edible fruit, oil seed, copper, plastic, sugar etc. has declined as compared to pre GSP Plus period, he lamented. Pakistan’s export to EU is mainly dominated by textiles and clothing which accounts 82 percent of total exports which is facing strict competition with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He underscored the need to diversify and value addition in Pakistan’s export including carpets, leather, furniture, plastics, sports goods and agriculture products to exploit the full potential of GSP Plus. The EU assessment report (2016) has also indicated that Pakistan’s export to EU is heavily relied on one product which indicates a risky situation for Pakistan, he added.
The President FPCCI also appreciated the signing of the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) in June 2019 for the establishment of a Security Dialogue, expanding relations in the areas of connectivity, migration, mobility, climate change and energy, education and culture, and science and technology. He also underlined the need of enhancement of foreign investment in Pakistan from EU as Pakistan has improved its ease of doing business and has brought several reforms in business.