After European Union (EU) granted GSP Plus status to Pakistan, the country has been reaping benefits of duty-free access to European markets. It was evident as textile garment exports grew almost 31 per cent in the first two months after the trade preference scheme came into force, according to official statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce.
As per sector-wise analysis, exports of textile garments grew significantly by 30.68 per cent against last year’s shipments in January and February. Total sales of textile garments to the EU in the two months last year stood at $342 million, which grew to $446.91 million this year, recording an increase of $105 million or 30.7 per cent.
From January 2014, the EU granted duty-free access to Pakistan for a period of 10 years, but its continuation is subject to periodical reviews that will determine whether Pakistan is making progress on over two dozen conventions of the United Nations pertaining to human, labour and gender rights and freedom of expression.
Experts estimate that GSP Plus will result in almost 20 per cent of Pakistan’s exports entering the EU market at zero tariff and 70 per cent at preferential tariff rates. This status will enable exporters to boost overseas sales by more than one billion dollars. Only the textile industry would earn profits of more than Rs one trillion per year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
The Ministry of Commerce said exports of home textiles to the EU in January-February 2013 amounted to $214.18 million, which rose to $274.47 million in the same period this year, showing an increase of 28.15 per cent. Leather and carpet manufacturers were also successful in making a strong mark as they enhanced their share in the European market after the grant of GSP Plus with shipments increasing 15.20 per cent and 12.79 per cent respectively during January and February 2014. The leather sector exported goods worth $25.46 million this year, up from $22.10 million in the corresponding period of previous year.