LAHORE: The European Union (EU) will decide about extending the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status for 2024 to Pakistan after reviewing the country’s two-year performance report on exports for the years 2020 and 2021, EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said on Thursday.
“The last two-year report (2018-19) was issued in February 2020. Pakistan’s performance report (for the years 2020 and 2021) is under compilation these days. Therefore, further decision for the extension of this status to Pakistan, with effect from Jan 1, 2024, will be made after reviewing this report,” Ambassador Kaminara said while speaking to the business community here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).
GSP is an entrenched trade and development policy instrument, in place since 1971. Pakistan is the major recipient of the GSP+ scheme for the last seven years. Under this status – set to expire on Dec 31, 2023 – there is zero per cent duty on several products. Under the current GSP+ system, the EU continues monitoring the progress made by the beneficiary countries towards the implementation of 27 international conventions.
The EU ambassador termed Pakistani products the best which could easily make their way to EU markets. New products and joint ventures can play a vital role in this regard. “The EU has tabled next generation of GSP+. Five new conventions have been added and it is a good omen that Pakistan is a signatory,” she said, declaring Pakistan a successful country to use the GSP+ status.
Ambassador Kaminara said the EU was ready to help Pakistan expand its exports to the union as it would like to be its partner in this regard. “We will continue engaging with partners, including Pakistan, to address the common challenge of climate change,” she pledged. She added that the EU was particularly focused on Pakistan’s SME sector.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir termed the EU a major trading partner of Pakistan.
“Figures show that EU accounts for about 14pc of Pakistan’s total trade volume and around 31pc of Pakistan’s total exports. In this context, the extension of GSP+ status for Pakistan till Dec 31, 2023, holds great significance for our economy,” Mr Kabir said.