Businessmen welcome giving GSP Plus status to Pakistan by European Parliament

SIALKOT: Sialkot business community has warmly welcomed the approval of `GSP-Plus` status for Pakistan by the European Parliament, allowing Pakistani products’ duty-free access to European markets.

President Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Dr. Sarfraz Bashir has greeted the business community on the award of the status, which shows confidence of international markets in the excellent quality of Pakistani products.

Talking to the newsmen here Friday, the SCCI President termed it a great success of Pakistan. He said that it would ensure the easy and smooth access of Pakistani products to EU international trade markets, opening the new vistas of economical development for Pakistan. It is expected that the enhanced access to the EU markets will create about 100,000 more jobs in the manufacturing sector in one year, SCCI President added.

SVP of SCCI Mian Muhammad Anwar said that as a result of the grant of GSP-Plus status the country`s exports to the EU would increase by around $1 billion in 2014. Last year, Pakistan exports to the EU stood at $6bn. He said that many Pakistani products like footballs, mangoes and other fruits, pine nuts, animal products, cutlery products, surgical instruments, basmati rice already have zero duty in the EU.

Chairman Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PGMEA) Shehzada Ibne Iqbal Syed narrated that that a number of measures taken to fix the economy and gain the trust of international community were beginning to bear fruits. He said the facility would increase the country`s exports by $2bn.

On the other hand, Chief Coordinator Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Ejaz A. Khokhar said that the resultantly increase in exports would boost economic growth and generate millions of jobs. The textile industry alone, he said, would earn annual profits of over Rs1 trillion.

He welcomed the approval of the GSP-Plus status, saying the facility would significantly strengthen national economy through greater trade, generation of economic opportunities and creation of more jobs for our people.

Ejaz A. Khokhar said that the sectors that are likely to benefit from the status include textile fabrics, yarn, textile garments including hosiery, bed, kitchen and toilet linen, footwear, protective leather gloves and sports gloves, ethanol and plastics.

On Thursday, the EU parliament approved the `Single Delegated Act` under which Pakistan and nine other countries will be entitled to the Generalized System of Preferences, Plus Scheme. Earlier, Pakistan had enjoyed duty-free access to the EU markets between 2002 and 2004 under the Drug Related Arrangement of the GSP Scheme, but it was ended when it was challenged at the World Trade Organization.

The act will come into force on January 1 next year and will be effective till 2017.The law secured support of 406 members of the parliament, while 186 votes were cast against it.

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