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Pakistan needs to brace for the challenges post Brexit

"With Britain breaking away from the European Union – in the now famous Brexit – Pakistan may face serious implications. Britain has had a great importance for Pakistan’s economy, trade and commerce as well as for Pakistani expatriates. In fact, the UK is the third largest home to Pakistani diaspora in the world. So, with the UK moving out of the European Union (EU), Pakistan would suffer, and this is something that needs to be taken care of."

 

Pakistan needs to brace for the challenges post Brexit

With Britain breaking away from the European Union – in the now famous Brexit – Pakistan may face serious implications. Britain has had a great importance for Pakistan’s economy, trade and commerce as well as for Pakistani expatriates. In fact, the UK is the third largest home to Pakistani diaspora in the world. So, with the UK moving out of the European Union (EU), Pakistan would suffer, and this is something that needs to be taken care of.

Brexit to impact UK-Pak trade

Pakistan needs to brace for the challenges

The UK is Pakistan’s largest trading partner. Nearly a quarter of Pakistan’ s exports to EU which include textiles, garments, leather goods, sports goods and food items, land in the UK from where a substantial portion is shipped to the EU. So, if Brexit comes into effect, it will have serious impact on imports for Pakistan at multilateral fora. In fact, some Pakistani experts believe that Pakistan would have to refashion its public diplomacy to woo other EU countries for exploring better economic markets and political opportunities to influence decision making process in the big EU countries. Also, the UK might be keen to improve its trade relationships with the Commonwealth nations. But even here, it would not necessarily be Pakistan that the UK will seek out because India is likely to overshadow Pakistan with its large market size and economic importance. So, Pakistan will need to re work separately its public diplomacy strategy towards Britain and EU.

More importantly, Pakistan’s GSP Plus status could face a few hurdles. For instance, Pakistan would lose its strongest advocate at EU institutions to keep the GSP Plus status intact during periodic reviews. A fresh lobbying effort would be required. Also, once the UK is out of the EU, it would require fresh negotiations for market access once again with all the countries of the world. And it may so happen that Pakistan may not feature high on the UK’s priority list to commit its negotiating resources during the coming years. So, Pakistan has to have a proactive approach and identify the challenges and develop a dynamic response mechanism.

 
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