Welcoming the Generalised System of Preferences Plus status, the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Pakistan has clarified that Pakistan is unlikely to fully tap the status in presence of severe energy crisis.

“Textile exporters will not be able to benefit from the duty free access unless the government takes serious measures to resolve energy shortage that holds back the textile industry,” said the PTEA office-bearers. They termed duty waiver as a milestone achievement of the government.

They pinned high hopes on the move for a significant surge of USD 1 billion in textile exports. Textile industry has the potential to double its existing share in global textile trade in next 4 years by reaping the benefits of GSP Plus, said Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, the chairman, and Adil Tahir, the vice chairman of PTEA. They appreciated the efforts of the prime minister and his team for duty free market access to the EU.

Pakistan had been trying hard for a number of years for duty waiver and greater access to EU markets through GSP Plus status to boost economic growth, they said. “Grant of GSP Plus status is a good sign for the ailing value added textile industry especially home textile exports which are badly suffering due to various factors. Pakistan’s exports to the European Union can surge by 1 billion dollar in value if we fully utilise our existing potential and capacity especially bed wear and home textile exports will get extreme surge,” they added.

GSP Plus status would help Pakistan build up its capacity to become a more effective and competitive in global economy, they said and added that the EU was Pakistan’s single largest trade partner with bilateral trade exceeding 7.5 billion Euros. They said, “GSP plus status is an opportunity to Pakistan for improving its relations with the European Union in terms of not only trade but also economic and political relations. This facility will contribute to the reduction of poverty and promotion of sustainable development and good governance by giving a boost to the trading industry.”

Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood said that the textile industry had potential to achieve export targets after duty free access to European markets however much would depend on the availability of a regular supply of gas and electricity to run the manufacturing units. He was confident that value of Pakistan’s exports to EU will go up significantly, if exporters are facilitated by the government in terms of utility supply round the year.

PTEA Vice Chairman Adil Tahir was of the view that the EU was not only the largest export destination and trading partner of Pakistan but also engaged with Pakistan in multiple levels of social and economic activities. He appreciated the role of Pakistan government in winning duty free market access to EU. He said that in the last three years, Pakistan’s export to the European Union have been steady and on the rise. There is a need to work out a methodology to further increase this trade activity.

The PTEA leaders stressed the need for comprehensive industrial policies to fully utilise the get benefits from GSP Plus, and demanded uninterrupted energy supply to industries round the year.