BRUSSELS: The European Parliament has granted GSP (Generalised Scheme of Preferences) plus status to Pakistan, media reports on Thursday. In all four hundred and six members of the European Parliament supported the move in the session while 186 votes went against the granting of GSP plus status.
The EU’s "Generalised Scheme of Preferences" (GSP) allows developing country exporters to pay lower duties on their exports to the EU. This gives them vital access to EU markets and contributes to their economic growth.
After getting the GSP plus status, Pakistani exports would be exempted from the general rules. The formal approval of the EU Parliament next month will allow almost 20 percent of Pakistani exports to enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70 percent at preferential rates.
EU trade concessions will benefit the country’s largest manufacturer and exporter, the textile and clothing industry, the most by enabling its products to compete with those of regional rivals like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which already have duty-free access to the bloc’s market.
The status will prove to be of great benefit to Pakistan’s textile manufacturers and exporters who will now have access to 27 European countries without having to pay duties.
Textile exports had been declining in Pakistan, as manufacturers and exporters were finding it hard to compete with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who already had duty-free access to European markets.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that award of GSP Plus status to Pakistan shows confidence of the international markets in the excellent quality of its products.
In an interview‚ Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar termed GSP Plus status as a historic and tremendous achievement of Pakistan.
He said that All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) would get one trillion rupees benefit annually after the grant of GSP plus status.
The governor said that Pakistan will be able to export textile goods to European member countries till 2017 without any duties. It will increase export of worth one billion dollar.
Chaudhry Sarwar added that major groups of European Parliament were in favour of Pakistan.