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UK Supports Pakistan For GSP Plus Status With E.U.

Pakistan will continue to receive UK support for its Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP) status awarded from the European Union to Pakistan.

The announcement of the UK’s ongoing advocacy of GSP Plus standing for Pakistan was made by Alison McEwen, head of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Bilateral Team, at a recent meeting of the Faisalabad (Pakistan) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI).

Under the GSP Plus agreement, facilitated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, special trade concessions are made by the European Union to some of the least developed countries. Countries granted this status are known as “beneficiary countries,” while countries making the concessions are called “donor countries.”

Countries with E.U. approved GSP Plus status are granted duty free and quota free market access for most of their products.

Additional benefits also accrue to GSP Plus nations, including enhanced political relationships with other E.U. nations, and increased back and forth trade.

The U.S. also has a GSP Plus program, but it differs in some respects from the E.U. version.

In her remarks in Faisalabad, Ms. McEwen said, “For the Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and the UK, consent of the European Union is essential.” She also announced plans for Pakistan and the U.K. to swap trade delegations.

President of the FCCI Mian Zahid Aslam, in a welcome address to members and visitors to the recent meeting, cited strong UK-Pakistan ties. Over one million British citizens have close family in Pakistan, he said, a fact that draws both countries together.

Pakistan’s major exports include textiles, textile made-ups, apparel, cotton yarn, and woven fabrics. Among the country’s major imports are telecom and electrical products and textile machinery.