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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's exports to European Union (EU) have posted a growth of 17.4 percent during the first 10 months of FY 2020-21 due to Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) plus.

The Commerce Ministry has released these trade figures days after European Parliament passed a resolution, calling for review of GSP plus status granted to Pakistan in view of an alarming increase in use of blasphemy accusations as well as rising number of online and offline attacks on journalists and civil society. Officials in Islamabad argue that it is just a resolution like many other resolutions which are not binding.

Insiders, however, maintain that Ministers have been barred from further commenting on the resolution and silent interaction with the EU is going on to clarify the position of the government.

On Wednesday, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood tweeted "we are glad to share that during Jul-Apr 2021, our exports to European Union increased by $ 1.1 billion,'.

The exports have constituted a growth of 17.4% to $ 7.474 billion during this period as compared to $ 6.367 billion in Jul-Apr 2020.

Some of the major markets showing an increase are Poland (23%), Sweden (21%) Netherlands (21%), Germany (19%), France (14%), Belgium (12%), Italy (4%) and Spain (2%).

"EU is a very important market for us and we greatly appreciate the tireless efforts of our exporters for making this possible under very difficult conditions," Dawood added.

Exports to United Kingdom (UK) have increased by 31 per cent to $ 1.709 billion during July-April 2020-21 as compared to $ 1.309 billion in the corresponding period of 2019-20.

The status of GSP+ will expire next year, after which the EU will formulate new mechanism for the countries which will be given GSP+ status.

"These are the highest ever exports to UK in a 10-month's period," said, Dawood.

The remittances from UK also increased by 62 per cent during July-March 2020-21 as compared to same period of 2019-20. Commerce Advisor and former Secretary Commerce/now Secretary Cabinet Division, Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera appreciated the performance of Commercial and Investment Counselors in UK, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Poland, and France. Most of the Commercial and Investment Counselors in Europe were appointed when Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera was Secretary Commerce.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021