Karachi, August 21, 2015 (PPI-OT): Acting Ambassador of European Union (EU), Stefano Gatto, while reviewing Pakistan’s export performance to EU in post-GSP plus scenario, stated that the Pakistani business and industrial community must focus on diversifying their exports to Europe.
Currently, Pakistan’s exports mostly comprise of textiles and leather goods but efforts must be made to diversify the export-range in order to fully benefit from EU’s GSP Plus scheme, he said, adding that Pakistan needs to focus on strengthening its capacity in order to effectively compete in the international markets.
EU Acting Ambassador gave these remarks while exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) which was attended by Senior Vice President KCCI Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee members.
EU Ambassador Stefano Gatto further stated that Pakistan’s exports to EU have been gradually improving after the grant of GSP plus for 10 years which commenced from January 1, 2014 but after every two years, the 28-nation European bloc will assess whether Pakistan is fulfilling the conditions required to get duty-free access to European markets or not. The first assessment has begun and was currently underway which will be officially reported in January 2016, he added.
Commenting on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that if it goes well, the corridor can bring economic improvements and Pakistan will be able to play the role of a bridge between the Central Asian Republics (CARs). Terming the lifting of moratorium on death penalty and establishment of military courts as two serious issues, the EU Acting Ambassador said that lifting of moratorium on death penalty as well as establishment of military courts could be taken as negative steps. “We want to see strengthening of civilian courts rather than giving the role to military courts”, he added.
Earlier, while welcoming the EU Ambassador, Senior Vice President KCCI Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi stressed the need to promote the positive perception about Pakistan as the negativity was terribly hindering trade between Pakistan with many countries, particularly the European Union countries. He said that the security situation of Karachi has improved significantly due to ongoing Karachi Operation against criminal elements being carried out by Pakistan Rangers and Sindh Police which has so far yielded good results but lot more still needs to be done in order to ensure long lasting peace and stability in the city.
He also underscored the need to export traditional and non-traditional goods into the EU markets in order to fully benefit from the GSP Plus Scheme. Commenting on Indo-Pak trade and pressing issues currently being faced by the two neighboring countries, Kasumbi said that the business communities of Pakistan and India want to further enhance trade and absolutely have no problems in dealing with each other. However, the issues were mostly political which can only be resolved through dialogue between diplomatic channels of Pakistan and India, he added.
Senior Vice President further said, “Although we have always been welcoming all types of Indian brands into the Pakistani market but unfortunately the Indian government, despite huge demand for Pakistani products, does not allow many of our goods to smoothly penetrate into the Indian market through non-tariff barriers which keeps the volume of formal trade very limited.”
Vice President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, in his remarks, pointed out that if the business and industrial communities of EU countries were reluctant to set up their businesses or undertake joint ventures in Pakistan, they can go for granting licenses to Pakistani businesspeople which would help enhance trade and bring business communities closer.
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