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GSP Plus Triggers Growth of Pakistan’s Textile and Apparel Exports to EU

To Pakistan exporters’ delight, after two months of implementation, the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus is invigorating the country’s apparel and textile exports to the Europe Union.

According to analysis reported by Pakistan Minister of Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan, January and February shipments of textiles and apparel from Pakistan to the EU climbed 30.68% to $446.91 million, compared to last year’s exports of $342 million. The substantial increase was a result of the GSP Plus and the successful economic diplomacy of the Nawaz-Sharifled Government, the Minister said.

The trade scheme has sparked a ripple effect in other sectors, including home textiles to the EU, which increased 28.15% to $274.47 million, from $214.18 million in the same period this year.

Pakistan’s carpet exports to the EU rose 12.79% to $9.88 million, against $8.76 million in the comparable period of last year, while leather exports reached $25.46 million, up from $22.10 million.

Estimates suggest that the GSP Plus will result in almost 20 percent of Pakistan’s exports entering the EU market at zero tariff, and 70 percent at preferential tariff rates. This trade scheme is expected to increase exporters’ overseas sales by more than $1 billion and enable them to better compete with regional rivals like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which have duty-free access to the EU.

Since January this year, the EU granted duty-free access to Pakistan for a period of 10 years, however, its continuation is subject to reviews that will determine whether the country is making progress on over two dozen conventions of the United Nations linked to human rights, labor rights, gender rights and freedom of expression.