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EU puts an end to suspense over GSP Plus to Pakistan
13
Dec '13
The suspense over whether Pakistan would get the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status from the European Union has ended with the European Parliament voting 409-182 in favour of granting the status to Pakistan.
 
“An overwhelming majority of Members of the European Parliament supported the granting of GSP Plus (GSP+) status to Pakistan,” said the office of the EU Delegation to Pakistan in a press release.
 
As a result, 20 percent of Pakistani exports would get zero-tariff access to the 27-member EU market, while another 70 percent of products would get access at preferential rates to the EU market for four years, beginning January 1, 2014.
 
The GSP Plus status is expected to greatly benefit Pakistan’s textile producers and exporters, who would now be able to better compete with countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, who already have duty-free access to the European markets.
 
According to experts, Pakistan would now be able to export most of its textile products to the EU at zero-duty or at concessionary tariff rates. In fact, around 900 of the 2,500 tariff lines that would benefit belong to the textile sector.
 
At present, textiles and clothing constitute more than 50 percent of Pakistan’s total exports worth US$ 9.5 billion to the EU market.
 
Chaudhry Sarwar, Governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province who was in Brussles for lobbying Pakistan’s case for GSP Plus, said the European Parliament’s decision would result in increasing Pakistan’s exports by US$ 1 billion, and it would generate new job opportunities for about one million Pakistani citizens.
 
The EU is Pakistan's largest trading partner. In 2012 total EU-Pakistan trade amounted to €8.2 billion. The European Commission's preliminary assessment is that Pakistani exports, including textiles but also other products such as leather would increase by €574 million annually, according to the statement.
 
The EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said: "The granting of GSP+ shows the importance the European Union attaches to its relations with Pakistan.”
 
“In addition to expanding and facilitating Pakistan's trade with the European Union, GSP+ will also promote economic growth and create much needed jobs across Pakistan. EU consumers will benefit as well from cheaper imports made in Pakistan. The textile industry is an obvious winner, but we should work together to ensure that other sectors of Pakistan's economy will benefit too,” he added.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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