LAHORE - European Union Ambassador Jean Francois Cautain has said that an investigation mission would visit Pakistan by the end of October to examine implementation of the initiatives to meet requirements of 27 conventions by Pakistan linked with the GSP Plus facility.

He was speaking at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab office on Friday. Chairman APTMA Punjab Adil Bashir welcomed him at the Association office. Syed Ali Ahsan and other senior member were also present on the occasion.

The EU Report 2017 says there have been positive developments in strengthening the human rights framework and legislative actions on the rights of women, children, minorities and labour rights, with legislation on, inter alia, torture, juvenile justice and transgender rights in the pipeline. However, there are areas of concern for implementation on various initiatives. Pakistan must step-up its efforts to ensure enforcement and implementation of legislation.

In his welcome address, chairman APTMA Punjab Adil Bashir said Pakistan's textile and clothing exports had witnessed 23% increase in 2014, which declined drastically in later years due to high cost of doing business in Pakistan. However, he added in the same breath that the new government was keen to resolve viability and growth issues to overcome trade deficit. He said APTMA has taken various sustainability initiatives and established Sustainability Production Centre (SPC) in association with GIZ, Ministry of Textile Industry and five other textile industry associations.

The Centre to guide the industry on social standard compliance, skill development, energy and water conservation, use of renewable energy and resource efficiency improvement to encourage reuse and reduction of wastages and has achieved many milestones till date. He said the government has also taken measures for improvement in compliance of EU conventions.

According to him, the industry is now considering new investment in technology upgradation and value addition to generate exportable surplus and creation of new jobs. He said the government was working on the enablers to bring back competitiveness and growth in the textile industry.