ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani informed on Friday that Pakistan would start export to European markets without any duty from 1st January 2013 and the impact of trade package of 75 items for Islamabad would be around $450 million. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has chaired a meeting regarding the access to European markets at PM’s House, which was attended by Minister for Commerce, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, senior officials of Ministries of Commerce, Textiles, Foreign Affairs and representatives of private sector.

The Secretary Commerce Zafar Mahmood informed the meeting that WTO has approved European Package of 75 items on February 14. The Secretary informed that now after the approval of the EU Parliament, these items would be exported to European markets without any duty from 1st January 2013. The Secretary said that the over and above impact on Pakistan’s export would be around $450 million to the European Union. He further said that in the GSP Plus, the European Union changed criteria to the advantage of Pakistan that could be attributed to the hectic efforts of government’s functionaries under the guidance of Prime Minister.

It was decided in the meeting that the Prime Minister would preside over the meeting of Envoy’s Conference belonging to European Union during his forthcoming visit to UK to appreciate EU support.

The Secretary Ministry of Commerce also informed the meeting that EFTA countries out of European Union like Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Monaco and Switzerland have also indicated their willingness to initiate dialogue on the trade agreement with Pakistan. The dialogue is expected to be held in April this year and if concluded it will further boost Pakistan’s exports in these countries, the Secretary maintained.

The representatives of private sector called upon the government to take immediate action for the uninterrupted supply of energy to export industry in order to fully capitalise the expected tariff concessions from EU and EFTA countries.

Prime Minister said that government had addressed the circular debt issue to a large extent which would lead to the thermal generation of electricity to its maximum capacity improving the supply considerably. He said that he had already held a meeting with the representatives of APTMA who suggested some out of box solutions to overcome energy shortage in the country.

Prime Minister further said that UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell had also appreciated the normalisation of trade links between Pakistan and India.

The Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim said that Cabinet decision regarding trade normalisation with India has been widely appreciated inside and outside the country.