LAHORE - Pakistan’s major industrial bodies, trade associations and almost all important government figures on Thursday congratulated the government for getting GSP Plus status from European parliament and hoped that the government would facilitate the export-oriented industries to fulfill all the foreign orders.

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front and All Pakistan Business Forum welcomed European Parliament decision.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that granting of GSP Plus status to Pakistan is a good omen. He said that the facility of GSP Plus will enhance exports of Pakistan and the national economy will be strengthened due to increase in trade activities. The Chief Minister said that due to the status of GSP Plus, trade relations of Pakistan with European countries will further strengthen. He congratulated those who made efforts for achieving Pakistan GSP Plus status for Pakistan.

Federal Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industry, Rukhsana Shah observed that the value-added textile industry, which is very important in terms of export as well as employment generation, needs to offer more diversified products to benefit from the GSP plus.

Addressing the PRMGEA Managing Committee Secretary Textile Industry Division assured Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association of having separate Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) for readymade garments industry very soon.

Rukhsana Shah said the development of synergies between local and international textile sectors is crucial for Pakistan to get advantage from the generalized system of preferences status.

PRGMEA Senior Vice Chairman Jawwad A. Chaudhary said that the EU move to grant duty free market access to Pakistan would help give considerable boost to exports and create new jobs in the country.

Jawwad, however, demanded the liberal import policy for raw materials for re-export like duty-free import of fabrics and accessories same as Bangladesh, besides simplifying MINTEX Registration procedure.  “We suggest the government to make it mandatory that all export invoices be attested and recorded by the Associations before Customs. This way all export commodities will be recorded in respective HS Code and export data will be compiled appropriately.”

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed European Parliament decision to grant duty free market access to Pakistan that would help give boost to exports and create new jobs in the country. LCCI Acting President Mian Tariq Misbah said that approval of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by European Parliament has proved all international conventions relating to human and labor rights, environment and good governance have been implemented by the Pakistan to the satisfaction of the European Parliament.

APTMA Punjab chairman SM Tanvir said that exporters from various industries in Pakistan were anxiously hoping for access to European markets, which promises huge potential for multiplying the country’s current exports.

PIAF Chairman Malik Tahir Javaid said that the GSP Plus status would not only help expansion in existing businesses but would also encourage foreign businessmen to put their money in new ventures in Pakistan.

He said that the boost to the manufacturing sector would also create new jobs that would definitely help bring down the graph of unemployment that was going up with every passing day.

The business community, meanwhile, urged the government to ensure uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity to the industry to enable it to fulfill foreign orders after January 1, 2014 when the status would be implemented.