LAHORE: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that he used his influence and experience in the European Parliament to campaign for GSP Plus status for Pakistan. Getting GSP Plus status is a great success of the current government.
In an exclusive interview with Customs Today, the Governor revealed that since the beginning of September 2013, he has been battling to get new trade concessions for Pakistan from the European Union. In November, he visited European Parliament in Strasbourg with a view to further boosting support in Pakistan’s favour. “I met with several MEPs, including those who voted in favour of Pakistan’s membership to thank them for their support,” he added.
He said that the campaign went on until November 5, 2013, the day of crucial voting in International Trade Committee on GSP Plus proposals. Now European Parliament has granted GSP Plus status to Pakistan till 2017 which is a great achievement for the country and it will help boost economic activities as exports will get a quick uplift, he added. The Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus – known as GSP Plus – is managed by the European Union and aims at offering complete removal of tax and duty tariffs to boost exports to EU from developing countries.
To improve the exports, necessary steps have been taken by the government, the Punjab Governor said, adding that required measures are also being taken for the effective implementation of these policies. Ch Sarwar said that with the approval of GSP Plus status for Pakistan, economics of the country’s textile industry would be completely changed. “Conservative estimates suggest it would increase our textile exports by more than $1 billion in the first year, creating one million new jobs in the industry,” he said, adding that if gas and electricity is available, textile exports to Europe could reach $26 billion in five years.
He said that it is a step in right direction to achieve Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s goal for revival of country’s economy and uplifting of textile industry. Replying to a question on current economic crisis in the country, the Governor said that it is aftermath of financial crunch in the world at large and this crisis also resulted in devaluation of rupee against dollar. He said that the government has implemented solid policies to ward off all the crises including deteriorated law and order situation, loadshedding of gas and electricity, decreasing foreign reserves, falling value of rupee and rising inflation.
He said that he would continue to visit different countries to present better image of Pakistan and to woo foreign investors especially overseas Pakistanis.