KARACHI/ISLAMABAD - Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) will prove to be of great benefit to Pakistan’s textile manufacturers and exporters who will now have duty-free access to 27 European countries and will enjoy a level playing field.

Trade bodies appealed to the government to improve supply of gas and electricity to textile industry in order to realise the full potential of the GSP Plus advantage as without this the full benefit cannot be achieved.

The Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Yasin Siddik has expressed his extreme joy on getting GSP status from the European Parliament terming it a big success for Pakistan and good omen for country’s export-oriented industry.

The objectives of the EU’s new GSP are to focus on help to those truly in need, to strength GSP plus as an incentive, to good governance and sustainable development. Yasin expressed hope that the textile and garment units which are running under capacity will soon start running at full capacity

Shehzad Azam Khan, Chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association said that while they deserved kudos for the splendid job well done, however, it will really be impossible to get any benefit from this long-awaited grant just because of the miserable ground facts relating to severest ever cut in gas supply to the industry along with drastic power load shedding which is currently being faced by the value-added textile export sector without signs of any improvement.

He appealed to the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to ensure continuous flow of gas and power supply on priority basis to the export-oriented industry among the other priority sectors as well as release payment of all stuck up refund claims.

Chairman SITE Association of Industry, Younus M. Bashir hailed the decision of European Parliament granting of GSP Plus status to Pakistan with a majority vote and said that he and other industrialists of SITE are overwhelmed by the outcome of the voting took place in the European Parliament wherein motion not granting GSP+ status to 10 countries including Pakistan was outvoted by 409 to 182 votes.

He said this is a great success of Pakistan and Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif as well as hectic efforts of Finance Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar.Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has hailed the European Union’s grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan terming it a blessing for country’s value-added sector especially textile exports.  Trade bodies appealed to the government to improve the supply of gas and electricity to the textile industry. Industrialist suggested that the government come up with a scheme of concessional finance facility for new projects and expansions that set up their own power generation based on fuel other than gas so that new capacity may be developed in the country.

Meanwhile, Azhar Saeed Butt, Acting President FPCCI, has welcomed the grant of Generalized Scheme of Preference (GSP+) by European Parliament. GSP plus provides the GSP facility to all products being imported in EU.

He said in a statement issued here on Friday that currently, there are 27 countries in EU and their aggregate import from Pakistan is about 6 billion dollars and exports to Pakistan are around 10 billion dollars. Azhar also applauds the efforts of consecutive government in Pakistan for achieving GSP Plus status. He said that EU remains Pakistan’s largest trading partner after USA; receives 25 percent of Pakistan’s exports and providing 10 percent of Pakistan’s imports.

The overall trade volume between EU and Pakistan is $10.9 billion with trade surplus of $1.78 billion Pakistan’s favor. Pakistan exported mainly textile and leather products to EU and importedmechanical and electrical machinery, chemical and pharmaceutical products.

Thebad governance, lack of quality assessment and infrastructure for quality exports, the potential of exports to EU is not optimized.

He said after GSP Plus status Pakistani products will be available in EU markets at competitive prices. It leads the surge in demand of Pakistani products. It is estimated that Pakistani textile exports to EU will increase by 1.0 to 1.5 billion dollar per annum.

No doubt in the present context of shortage of foreign exchange reserves it provides a support to Pakistan economy. Moreover, it may support the value of Pakistani rupee. Another aspect of this facility is that the prime material of textile products is cotton.

Pakistan’s trade with the EU is mainly composed of textiles, which account for over 55% of the total Pakistani exports, followed by leather products. Pakistan’s export structure lies very much on a traditional product mix. The imports from the EU to Pakistan mainly comprise finished products like mechanical and electrical machinery, chemical and pharmaceuticals.

Azhar further stated that the surge in the expected demand can be materialized only if production process will remain in process. The break in production process because of energy and gas shortage or law and order situation will not allow industry to increase its exportable production.

He also mentioned that during the visit of various delegations from EU Head of Unit, FPCCI emphasized the importance, scope and need of GSP+ plus for Pakistan. He also informed that during the EU visit of EU delegation to Federation House Karachi, the head of delegation told that Pakistan is 52ndEU trading partner with lot of potential and being 6th largest cotton country for this reason they negotiate with Pakistan.