Benefits of GSP Plus status are not visible in Pakistan?

March 2, 2016 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Benefits of GSP Plus status are not visible in the country’s trade statistics and it is important that effective monitoring system may be set up in Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) for watching the all commodities items, like which exports to EU under GSP plus status, so that exporters can take maximum benefits from its remaining concession time, said FPCCI Standing Committee’s former Chairman Ahmad Jawad.

As per trade statistics for international business development of International Trade Centre, Pakistan exports to Germany in 2014 were $1,215,478; France $430,869; Netherlands $684,740; Spain $789,828, Switzerland $13,744 and Greece $69,959.

He said: “We should explore opportunities in other sectors besides textile and leather in a bid to take advantage of the GSP Plus scheme, as there is a huge potential of country horticulture products in EU market but unforeseen circumstances hampered the process of exports which needs to be fixed through effective public private dialogue.”

Jawad demanded that the government had directed Department of Plant Protection (DPP) to guide the fruit vegetable exporters at large on the requirements of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) and provide due infrastructure for that so that Pakistani fresh produce may tapped the market well.

He said: “In the past, we saw a swear decline on the export of mangoes to EU due to lack of timely intervention by the relevant authorities. Similarly from the last 2 years, vegetable exports from KPK has been stopped to EU countries due to un-clarity between the exporters and DPP officials, regardless buyers of France, Netherlands and other EU members are interested to import kinnows, mangoes, and fresh vegetables from us due to our unique taste.”

He advised being a national chamber, FPCCI should activate its GSP plus desk in full swing and seek the sector specific due recommendations and problems from the trade associations which can help increase the exports under GSP so that it may come forward to TDAP for the execution.

Though Federal Minister for Commerce said last week that the country’s exports to European Union surged by 31 percent to 1.6 billion Euros in the wake of Generalised System of Preference plus (GSP+) status, but it needs to be more done. Jawad said as its benefits are not visible in the country’s trade statistics if we calculated on yearly basis.

It is also be recalled here that the European Union (EU) were granted Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan with an impressive count of 406 votes, granting Pakistani products a duty free access to the European market. The 406 members of the European Parliament expressed their support for Pakistan while 186 lawmakers voted against the status, which had been granted till 2017. The GSP Plus status would allow almost 20 percent of Pakistani exports to enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70 percent at preferential rates.