Friday, 13 December 2013

EU Puts An End to Suspense over GSP Plus to Pakistan

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.

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