KARACHI - Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has expressed concern over delay in the implementation of the eagerly awaited EU trade concessions package.

The EU announced the package for Pakistan to grant relief to it and help it offset the losses suffered due to devastating floods in 2010. Under the package, 75 Pakistani items, including 65 textile and garment items, qualify for concessional duty access to the EU.

However, during a recent meeting of the EU Parliament, the economic package announced by the EU for Pakistan got politicized, following which the chances of its implementation have decreased, PRGMEA central chairman Shehzad Salim said. When EU last year announced the two-year package, extendable to third year, India raised an objection against the same at the WTO. Subsequently, Bangladesh and a few other countries too objected the package.

India withdrew its objections after Pakistan granted it the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status in November last year. After appeasing Bangladesh and other countries objecting to the proposal to take back their objections, WTO approved the EU concession package early this year.

Currently, the package awaits approval from the EU Parliament, before it comes into effect. However, with Spain, Portugal and Germany raising objections to the concession package citing economic downturn in Europe, the package is currently being redrafted.

Salim said if the redrafted package fails or is not implemented, it is likely to negatively impact Pakistan’s bid for GSP Plus status that is scheduled to commence from January 1, 2014.