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LAHORE: Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Wednesday stressed his hope that Pakistan will be granted extension in GSP Plus status by the European Union and the country will also get this status for another 10 years.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion while former presidents and Executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion.

The governor said during his visit to Europe, he held meetings with more than 30 members of the European Parliament including four vice presidents, adding that his meetings had been successful in all respects.

He was confident that despite all conspiracies of India, Pakistan will get GSP Plus status for another 10 years. It will provide financial benefits of more than USD 4 billion to Pakistan annually. He said so far the GSP Plus status has benefited Pakistan economy with USD 20 billion. He said that Pakistan will also win the case of Pakistani Basmati Rice Trademark.

The governor said that during his visit to Europe, everyone appreciated Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process. He said that Pakistan is playing a positive role in establishing peace in the world including Afghanistan.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir appreciated the efforts of governor Punjab for GSP Plus status to Pakistan. Because of concessions in duty under GSP Plus status, Pakistan’s exports to EU countries have reached USD 8.8 billion which is 32% of Pakistan’s total exports.

The LCCI president hoped that the governor’s recent visits to Belgium, Italy and Hungary will have good results. He said that the lobbying by the governor Punjab for Pakistan and meeting with the Vice President of European Union in Brussels will help Pakistan to secure GSP Plus status.

“We are also playing our role in this regard”, Mian Nauman Kabir said adding that the Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara was invited to the LCCI for a detailed discussion on GSP Plus Scheme.

She informed us the European Commission has been formulating a new 10-year GSP Plus Scheme since the beginning of 2024 and some new conventions are being added to it related to Human Rights, Labour Rights and Governance. Pakistan, including other countries will have to re-apply to get GSP Plus status.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that the government should evolve a strategy and should facilitate the business community to extract full benefits from the GSP Plus status. He assured that the business community will fully support the government in implementing existing and new conventions.

He said that Islamophobia is spreading very fast in the Western countries. Everyone will have to play his role to counter it. To highlight its soft image at global level is need of the hour.

The LCCI president said that the exports play an important role in economic development. Under GSP Plus, most of exports consist of textiles. He said that more value added sectors including leather products, cutlery and other sectors to take full advantage of GSP Plus.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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