ISLAMABAD - Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Industry Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that Pakistan’s exports would throng to 27 European markets from today (Wednesday), as has government has formally received in writing the grant of GSP plus status from EU.
While addressing a press conference here, he said that Pakistan’s overall exports to these states will initially get 29 percent increases. He said the GSP plus scheme will be applicable until 2023. It will be reviewed after every two years and the first review will start in January 2016, he added.
State Minister further said that elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made trade not aid a reality. He conveyed to the assembled media persons that GSP-Plus Scheme will be applicable until 2023, and was subject to various conditions such as the share of any GSP+ beneficiary country will not exceed 2% of entire EU imports, and ratification and reporting of 27 international conventions on good governance. As per article 14 of the EU regulation after every two years, the EU Commission will present a report to the European Parliament on status of ratification of these conventions.
Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan advised the media that as per Annex-IX of the EU Regulation-978, the entire textiles and clothing products i.e. HS chapter 50 to 63 are included in GSP+ Scheme and will be duty free from January 01, 2014 although it is informed by our Brussels office that officials Notification will be issued on January 6th, 2014. The Minister of State disclosed that textiles, agriculture and fisheries are deemed sensitive and are under special safeguards in the EU. The textiles and clothing products are placed as Sections 11a (HS Chapter 50 to 60) and 11b (HS Chapter 61 to 63). If the country’s exports of a product exceed a threshold of 6% of total EU imports of that product, then safeguard threshold is 13.5% for annual increase of imported volumes. The Minister of State also briefed the media on the rules of origin applicable for the GSP+ and informed that regional cumulation is also available.
Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan declared that GSP+ Scheme will act as a catalyst to rejuvenate Pakistan’s entire export products range. It will facilitate the complete textiles and clothing value chain to diversify their product mix as in various products in which we do not have competitive advantage will now be competitive vis-à-vis India and China due to zero tariffs.
However, textiles and clothing values chain will also be required to upgrade their machinery and produce better value products.
The Minister of State told that he already had held a meeting with the apparel association and now would hold meeting with other segments of the textiles value chain to finalize his action plan to facilitate the industry. He said at the moment the Textile Division is working to simplify the temporary importation schemes for the purpose of re-export, arranging weekly data base sharing with the Federal Board of Revenue and releasing fund to pay pending liabilities of Textiles Policy 2009-14, sales tax and drawback refunds.
He said that skilled labor is required to produce additional quantities and he would be ensuring release of funds from EDF to initiate various training programmes. He also emphasized that in the long run, he would like to tackle all problems related to the cotton production sector, through legislation as well as interventions through scientific research.