ISLAMABAD – Pakistan may not avail the full benefits of duty free exports to European Union (EU) under Generalized System of Preferences (GPS) plus scheme and faces a threat of losing $ 1 billion annual export to the latter due to deteriorating energy crisis.

This was said by President Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) Dr Murtaza Mughal in a statement issued here on Sunday. In his statement he said the deteriorating energy crisis of the country may hit a stumbling block to get desired objectives through GSP plus scheme effective from 2014.

“If the government is not able to get rid of power outages till 2014 then the EU facility will not help the country at large to get its desired objectives of enhancing export,” Murtaza Mughal said, adding that country’s export was expected to increase by more than $ 1 billion per annum to European Union and will export more than 6,000 tariff lines duty free whereas currently exporting the same tariff lines but with duties.

He said that government should make all efforts to overcome on energy crisis so that Pakistan will be able to avail the full benefits of duty free exports to European Union under GPS plus scheme.

He said one per cent exports to European market was a central condition for availing the current GSP plus facility to the developing countries whereas for the next GSP Plus the European Parliament (EP) has voted to approve draft legislation under which Pakistan will be joining the countries that will be entitled to receive duty free treatment from 2014.

Dr Mughal said the scheme will replace the current GSP scheme from January 2014, under which some of the existing criteria for GSP Plus beneficiaries have also been changed. This will make Pakistan and a few other countries eligible to apply for GSP Plus, provided they fulfill the other criteria such as the commitment to effectively implement 7 international conventions relating to good governance, human rights and sustainable development etc.

“In case Pakistan is able to meet all the criteria for GSP Plus, its exports to the EU under the concessionary tariff lines will receive duty free treatment from 2014 onwards,” he added.