Islamabad:  The European Union has extended the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status for Pakistan till 2022, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Industry and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood stated on Saturday.

Mr Dawood, in a tweet, said Pakistan would continue to avail tariff preferences in the European Union under the GSP Plus after this extension. “This will strengthen Pakistan’s resolve to continue to improve the social and economic conditions of its people.

He urged the business community to diversify their exports to capitalise on this opportunity to the optimum.

The GSP allows vulnerable developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on exports to the EU, giving them vital access to the EU market and contributing to their growth. And extension of the GSP Plus status implies that the country has been allowed access to preferential duties on exports to the EU.

Pakistan has been undergoing serious economic crisis with fewer supplies of foreign currency reserves and stagnating growth in the recent years.
Economically, Pakistan has been a significant beneficiary of the scheme among nine other countries in the world.

Pakistan’s exports to the EU enhanced from 4.538 billion euros in 2013 (before the GSP-Plus status) to 7.492 billion euros in 2019, registering an increase of 65pc as a result of the duty-free access to 27 EU member states.

In 2018, Pakistan availed tariff concessions on exports worth 5.885 billion euro out of the total export of 6.739bn euros to EU member states.

Pakistan’s first biennial assessment of GSP-Plus was conducted in 2016, followed by another assessment in February 2018, whereas the third biennial assessment report was published on Feb 10 last month by the European Commission.

Pakistan showed commitment to maintaining ratifications and meeting reporting obligations to the UN treaty bodies for these 27 conventions. The EU, in a report last month, stated that the Pakistan government showed keen interest in maintaining GSP-Plus status.
“When it comes to effective implementation, Pakistan is making some progress on adopting laws on the protection of women and children rights; elimination of honour killings; protection of transgender persons; protection of the environment; and good governance,” it outlined.

Dawood also shared data outlining the increase in exports. In February, Pakistan’s exports showed an impressive 13.6% surge in February, reaching $2.137 billion, while the imports fell by 4.56%.
In November last year, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar visited Europe to muster support for a three-year extension in the GSP Plus status for Pakistan.