Business community have widely hailed result oriented hectic efforts of the Punjab Governor Muhammad Sarwar Chaudhry for mustering European Union (EU) support in getting two years extension of Generalised System of Preferences plus (GSP-Plus) for Pakistan endeavouring to strengthening national economy.

SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) president-designate and veteran trade leader Iftikhar Ali Malik in his statement issued here on Sunday urged the business community to diversify their exports to capitalise on this opportunity to the optimum.

He said since the grant of GSP Plus in 2014, Pakistan’s exports to the European Union have enhanced from 4.538 billion euros in 2013 to 7.492 billion euros in 2019, registering an increase of 65 percent.

“The main sectors that benefited from GSP Plus have been textile and garments, which besides earning foreign exchange for the country, provided employment opportunities, especially for females,” adding he said Pakistan can now export textile goods to European member countries till 2022 without having to pay duties, adding that it would increase exports worth $1 billion.

He further said because of the high cost of production, China’s share in the global textile and clothing market is at stake. Pakistan’s duty-free access to the EU can capture greater share of the textile and clothing market since this is a lifetime kind opportunity for Pakistan’s textile exporters.

Highlighting the future of South Asian countries and European countries, Iftikhar Ali Malik said the European Union (EU) has realized that in the long term, more than 90% of the world’s economic growth will come from non-European areas, mostly Asia. “There is huge growth potential for the Asian economy in the future, and the economic dependence between Europe and Asia will deepen. The EU needs to strengthen connectivity to open up and consolidate its Asian market,” he added.

He further said he was much optimistic that the SAARC counties would emerge into powerful economic bloc in near future and he stressed the urgent need for fully exploiting the indigenous natural resources and untapped mineral resources not only to improve but to strengthen the socio-economic conditions in the region on the pattern of trade bloc like European Union.

He said people of the region have not given up hope and Pakistan’s role, as the most important country in the region is vital. Also, every time a difficulty has cropped up in the region, Pakistan has offered help and fulfilled responsibilities.

He said Pakistan remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation and connectivity for promoting peace and accelerating the pace of economic development.

Appreciating Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sincere efforts to increase Pakistan’s export besides steering the country out of the current fiscal crisis, Iftikhar Ali Malik said the whole nation is standing with the Prime Minister at this crucial time and the business community will support him in his economic initiatives.

He said that entire business community had already reposed full confidence on the top leadership of PTI led government committed to quick uplift of the down trodden besides facilitating the traders for addressing their all genuine grievances on top priority.