KARACHI: The business community has welcomed the renewal of GSP plus scheme for two years.
Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), Shaikh Mohammad Shafiq, while appreciating the renewal of GSP+ scheme for two years, said that GSP Plus plays a catalyst in boosting Pakistani exports. In last 3 years Pakistan exploited GSP+ status by accessing markets across European Union. Pakistan exports to EU increased from 24 percent in 2013 to 34 percent in 2016.
Under GSP+ Pakistani goods have duty-free access on 91 percent of EU tariff lines. Upward trend was witnessed in exports to EU and exports of euro6.29 billion achieved in 2016 as compared to euro4.54 billion in 2013. Textile sector alone fetched euro4.87 billion out of euro6.29 billion exports in total for 2016 and euro3.14 billion out of 4.54 billion fetched in 2013 which represents a considerable increase of 54.8 percent leading to balance of trade in favour of Pakistan.
We have succeeded in reaching this landmark simply due to the serious efforts of Muhammad Pervaiz Malik Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile, Haji Mohammad Akram Ansari State Minister for Commerce & Textile and Mohammad Younus Dagha Federal Secretary Commerce.
Shaikh Mohammad Shafiq also appreciated the announcement of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for establishing five combined treatment plants in Karachi which was one of the major demands of the industry to match the GSP Plus standards.
11.19 percent increase in export is recorded for the period July – Dec 2017 as compared to July – Dec 2016. It seems that train of trade is on the right path and necessary steps need to be taken in order to continue this trend. Government should fulfill its announced commitments and ensure timely release of all stuck up refund payments against sales tax, duty drawback on local taxes and levies (DLTL) and DDT. The trade body has come to know through reliable sources that government is going to release Rs4 billion; Rs1.5 billon for sugar, Rs0.5 billion for non-textile and the remaining Rs2 billon for textile sector.
Shaikh Mohammad Shafiq emphasized the government to expedite the process of separate utility tariff announced by the Prime Minister as the exporters are already paying 15 percent more as compared to our competitors in the neighbouring countries.
Chairman PRGMEA further said that the renewal of GSP+ status for another two years is a golden opportunity which our exporters could exploit and make most out of it in order to meet export target of USD35 billion. The government should consider our time-barred claims similar to those of non-textile, since textile sector has been the main driver of the economy for the last 50 years in terms of foreign currency earnings and jobs creation. There is no alternative industry or service sector other than textile that has the potential to benefit the economy with foreign currency earnings and new job creation.
He further said that it is grave injustice to the industries of Sindh, Baluchistan and KPK that despite production of natural gas in excess in their provinces, industries in Sindh, Baluchistan and KPK still face load shedding and to make matters worse low gas pressure. The industrialists in these provinces are compelled to buy imported gas in contradiction to Article-158.
S M Muneer, President Tariq Malik, Senior Vice President Salman Aslam and Vice President Junaid Naqi welcomed the extension for two more years of GSP plus status to Pakistan by EU Parliament.
Former president FPCCI S M Muneer applauded the efforts of Federal Minister of Commerce and Trade, Pervaiz Malik and Secretary Commerce Younus Dagha for the decision.
President, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Tariq Malik said this decision would be helpful in offering Pakistani products European markets’ exposure. He also urged the government to take necessary measures for enabling industry to compete in international market.
Article first appeared in Business Recorder.