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PIAF hails continued GSP-Plus status post-Brexit

Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has welcomed the continuation of GSP Plus status to Pakistan in UK beyond Brexit. The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Richard Crowder has confirmed UK wants to maintain and strengthen access to UK markets for developing countries after leaving the EU. For Pakistan, which benefits from zero tariffs on two-thirds of all products export to the UK, says PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh.

PIAF feels the assurance is heartening as there were apprehensions in the market that Pakistan and some of the other developing countries could lose GSP Plus status in the British market post-Brexit. It is reassuring that such apprehensions have been removed and Brexit would not make any difference on present trade relations between the UK and Pakistan.

However, Sheikh said exporters have failed to get new export order which will further decline exports in coming months, as their genuine demands were not met by the government. The PIAF chairman alleged FBR officials are treating exporters and tax-payers as thieves and arbitrarily debiting amounts directly from the banks accounts of exporters. He added that trade deficit has touched $30 billion; markets due to decrease in exports while, on the other hand, competitor Bangladesh's textile exports alone have touched $28 billion mark and they have set their target of $35 billion in next five years.

Presently, Pakistan has the highest-ever cost of doing business/manufacturing as compared to eight competing countries in the region. He stated that duty-free access was of critical importance for Pakistan but government will have to implement its commitments to provide incentives to the exporters.