The EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara, has stressed the need for product diversity and more value-addition to exploit the full potential of market access to the countries under GSP Plus regime.
She was talking to All Pakistan Business Forum President, Syed Maaz Mahmood, and general secretary Khurram Niaz Khan, in a meeting held here today.
Both sides discussed in details the technical education, skills development, EU support for Pakistan in TVET sector, women entrepreneurship and role of SME sector in economic growth.
The ambassador discussed various ideas for providing support to the freelancers in the IT sector, handicrafts and tourism, with the focus on creating linkages within the EU to open new markets for the products.
Read More: EU Parliament extends the GSP-Plus status for Pakistan
Strengthening women entrepreneurship, labour laws, SME sector
The APBF and the EU agreed to work on women entrepreneurship, better labour laws, promotion of SME sector, freelancers IT resource along with other projects.
Androulla Kaminara said that the EU is the biggest export market for Pakistani goods, as it accounts for about one-third of all Pakistani exports.
The Ambassador said the European Union fully backed Pakistan’s efforts to overcome the socioeconomic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and build back better for a more sustainable future.
The EU-Pakistan bilateral relations received a major boost when the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) was signed in June 2019, to further enhance engagement between the two sides, and address emerging global challenges, she added. EU Ambassador
Read More: European Union lauds Pakistan’s successful fight against COVID-19
She said that during 2014-2020 the grants provided to Pakistan amounted to over €600 million, focusing on rural development, education and vocational training and human rights etc. She said the EU can assist Pakistan to expand its exports and uplift its industry through collaboration with the APBF by launching joint ventures in various sectors.
EU Ambassador appreciated role of APBF
The Ambassador appreciated the role of APBF in boosting trade activities in the region and added that her embassy would be in touch with the Forum to increase the bilateral ties. She said that Pakistan can make more progress by putting in best efforts for Skill Workforce development and EU can also take some positive step to support it.
What is the GSP Plus? eu ambassador
The primary objective of the Generalized System of Preference, commonly called GSP is to contribute to the reduction of poverty and the promotion of sustainable development and good governance. Tariff preferences in the EU market enable Developing Countries to participate more fully in international trade and generate additional export revenue to support implementation of their own sustainable development and poverty reduction policy strategies. The European Union’s GSP covers three separate regimes;
(i) The standard GSP, which provides preferences to 90 (previously 177) Developing Countries and Territories on over 6300 tariff lines;
(ii) the special incentive arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance, known as GSP+, which offers additional duty free exports to support vulnerable developing countries (previously 16 now 25 countries – Including Pakistan) in their ratification and implementation of relevant international conventions in these fields, and;
(iii) The Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement, which provides Duty-Free, Quota-Free access for the 50 Least-Developed Countries (LDCs).
How will Pakistan benefit from attaining GSP Plus status?
Pakistan has traditionally been benefiting from the standard GSP regime of the EU and exports to the EU have been subjected to 20% less duty than the normal MFN duties charged by the European Union. This preferential tariff has helped Pakistani products not only to enter the EU market but also to sustain their share in it. EU Ambassador
Nevertheless, this also meant that Pakistani products, especially; Textiles and Garments, were facing stiff competition not only from efficient suppliers like; China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam but were also at a disadvantage vis a vis exports from LDCs like Bangladesh, which were already accorded duty free access to the EU through the Everything But Arms regime of the EU GSP.