ISLAMABAD - The amendment of General System of Preferences (GSP) by European Union in order to grant eligibility to Pakistan to have better market access is a major achievement of the present democratic government.

This was stated by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf while chairing a meeting of concerned Ministries and provincial governments to review the status of preparations for Pakistan's entry into GSP Plus, at the Prime Minister's Secretariat on Tuesday.

Raja Pervaiz said that Pakistan looks forward to its inclusion in EU's GSP Plus Scheme from 2014 onwards.

The increased trade with EU will earn much needed foreign exchange earnings as well as create employment opportunities in the country, he said.

During the meeting it was emphasised that for Pakistan's GSP Plus application to succeed, it would be essential to ensure that the specified seven international conventions are being effectively implemented. These conventions relate to human rights, labour rights, environment and narcotics.

The Prime Minister urged the Task Force to ensure that this important achievement of the government is taken to its logical conclusion by fulfilling procedural EU formalities in a timely manner.  In this connection, he directed the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Task Force to coordinate the GSP Plus application process.

He was informed that the new EU GSP scheme will come into effect from January 2014 and Pakistan needs to file an application with European Commission by early 2013.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister was informed that Pakistan has been elected President of the Montreal Protocol.

The Representatives of Provincial governments supported the Federal Government's efforts to obtain GSP Plus and assured it of all possible cooperation.

The Prime Minister also appreciated the keen interest shown by the private sector and hoped that all stakeholders would contribute in the process as it is a national cause.

Those who attended the meeting include Rana M. Farooq Saeed, Minister for Climate Change, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Adviser to PM on Human Rights,Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister of State for Commerce, Secretaries, Law & Justice, Human Resource Development, Human Rights, Narcotics Control, Textile, IPC, Commerce, Chief Secretaries Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and other government officials.