EU Parliament’s resolution against Pakistan: Exports may be in danger zone in time to come

The country’s exports to European Union countries may stay in a danger zone in the time to come as the European parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution urging the EU authorities to review GSP plus status as blasphemy cases are on the rise in Pakistan. “Yes, it is a matter of grave concern, but EU authorities have not formally told the government of Pakistan about its intent to review the GSP Plus. The adoption of resolution by the EU parliament shows the sentiments of the EU countries, but it is not binding on the authorities to consider reviewing GSP Plus facility,” a senior official of the Commerce Ministry told The News.

When contacted, Commerce Secretary Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui said: “We are in active consultation with the relevant stakeholders. Pakistan is committed to fulfilling obligations under EU GSP plus regime and has made consistent progress in this regard. We are hopeful that through continued engagement and effort, we’d be able to clear up any haze and misgivings in this respect.” The official also told The News and the Pakistan government is in contact with its representative at the Brussels and an important meeting has been convened for next Monday that will finalize the modus operandi on how to go about it and tackle the situation after the adoption of the resolution after having an input from our representative stationed at the Brussels.

"The GSP plus facility is available to Pakistan till 2022 and a review by the EU is to take place in January 2022 to decide if this facility is to continue or not." According to Executive Director of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Shahid Sattar, of textile exports of $13 billion, the exports to EU countries stand at $6 billion and if this facility is withdrawn, major dent in exports will take place and in return the industrial activities will plummet in the country which may trigger to a new surge in unemployment. He said that the government should preempt the situation and come up with effective diplomatic endeavors to avert any EU action against the GSP plus facility

The official said that the EU is Pakistan''s most important trading partner, accounting for 12.8 per cent of Pakistan''s total trade in 2015 and absorbing 23.7 per cent of Pakistan''s total exports. Pakistani exports to the EU are dominated by textiles and clothing, accounting for 82 per cent of Pakistan''s total exports to the EU in 2016. Pakistan''s imports from the EU are mainly comprised of machinery and transport equipment (40.2 per cent in 2016) as well as chemicals (19.5 per cent in 2016).

From 2006 to 2016, EU28 imports from Pakistan have almost doubled from €3,319 to €6,273 million. The growth of imports from Pakistan has been particularly fast since the award of GSP Plus (€5,515 million in 2014). According to the latest data, Pakistan’s exports to the EU in 2018-19 stayed at $7.936 billion while the import stood at $5.478 billion whereas the export to France in 2018-19 was at $400 million. However, in 2019-20, the country''s exports to the EU were at $7.477 million and the imports stood at $4.167 million.

Source: The Pakistan Today, Pakistan
Monday, 03 May 2021

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