Karachi, Pakistan (BBN) – Pakistan launched the ‘Business Guide for GSP+’ on Thursday to help boosting exports to the 28-nation European bloc.

The country’s exports to the European Union rose 20 per cent to US$6.38 billion during the first 10 months of 2014 from $5.3 billion last year, Commerce Minister of Pakistan Khurram Dastagir said while launching the guide in the port city.

The minister said the preferential tariff scheme boosted export of textile, leather goods, footwear and plastic products.
Pakistan’s exports to the bloc were falling before the GSP+ status, he said, particularly when the Drug Related Arrangement was terminated in 2005. As a result tariff concessions granted in certain product categories were withdrawn. It landed Pakistan in a difficult situation as it had to compete with much stronger economies like India, Brazil and China for market share.

Eventually Pakistan’s exports to the EU which had been growing by 16-17per cent annually earlier (2002-04) plummeted to the compound export growth rate of 4.5 per cent, he added.

During the same period, Bangladesh’s compound growth rate for exports to the EU was more than 13 per cent, India 8.5 per cent, Vietnam 18 per cent and China more than 7.0 per cent.

Elaborating the positive impact of GSP+ and the growth in exports of some products to the EU member states, the minister said that from 2005 onwards the customs tariff on various products of textiles originating from Pakistan was between 6.4 per cent and 12 per cent. The duty was around 6.0 per cent on leather products, including footwear.

But after the withdrawal of these duties, he said, Pakistan’s textile exports increased by over 20 per cent during Jan-Oct 2014 compared to the same period of 2013.
Similarly, exports of textile to the EU rose from to $4.4bn from $3.6bn.

The exports of garments grew by 28 per cent, home textiles by 30 per cent and towels by 23 per cent, the Dawn reported.

The minister hoped that the GSP+ business guide — jointly prepared by Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development, EU’s Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Programme, International Trade Centre and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation — will provide useful information to new exporters, especially its translated version in Urdu.

The launching ceremony and the seminar was also attended by EU envoy Lars-Gunnar Wigemark; barrister Zafarullah Khan, special assistant to the prime minister; and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan’s chief S.M. Muneer, according to the newspaper.

BBN/SSR/AD-24Jan15-11:13 am (BST)