SCCI calls for implementation of all conventions to enhance exports to EU market

22 June 2021

SCCI calls for implementation of all conventions to enhance exports to EU market

June 22, 2021

PESHAWAR: President, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sherbaz Bilour has assured the SCCI will fully cooperate to ensure implementation of all relevant EU conventions in order to reap benefits of Generalised Scheme of Preferences -- (GSP+) status in an efficient manner, granting Pakistani products a duty free access to the European market.

Sherbaz Bilour informed that the GSP plus status, which was granted by EU to ensure duty free entry of Pakistani products to EU market, has been extended by European Commission till 2022.  He said the EU market is one of the priority exports destination for Pakistan.

However, he urged the government of Pakistan to ensure implementation of all conventions to further enhance Pakistan’s exports to the EU market.  

SCCI chief urged the EU to assist terrorism, extremism and covid-19 hit businesses and economy of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He hailed the increase in export of Pakistani products to the EU market after granting GPS plus status. 

Mrs Androulla Kaminara, Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan, during her visit to the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here on Tuesday informed that after the granting of GSP plus status, the export of Pakistani products to the EU market has increased by 33 per cent, mostly in the textile sector.  She said there is huge potential to export of Pakistani fresh fruits and food items to the EU market.

While giving reference of recent EU review report 2020, she informed that Pakistan has signed almost 27 conventions, out of which improvement was seen on some of them, including transgender, human rights and journalists’ protection bill.

However, she said the government spent two years making legislation for the protection of the journalists' community. But, she emphasized that there is need to expedite reforms and steps regarding legislation on disappearance, torture, abuse, blasphemy and inspection on factories in order to meet with all EU obligations.

The meeting was attended by FPCCI former president Ghazanfar Bilour, SCCI Senior vice president Engineer Manzoor Elahi, Vice president Junaid Altaf, SCCI former president Zahid Ullah Shinwari, EU Counsellor Mr Daniel Clauses, Project Manager EU Arshad Rashid, Smeda provincial chief Rashid Aman, IAP president Malik Imran Ishaq, EC members of the chamber, Abdul Jalil Jan, Kamran Zeb, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Shams Rahim, Abdul Hakeem Shinwari, importers, exporters and traders.

Ms Kaminara made it clear that after every two year, reviewed on progress on reforms and implementation on conventions, if the country was not fully abiding with obligations in the light of the report, the special trade incentive like GSP status would be withdrawn immediately.

However, she said in the 2020 review report, Pakistan has gained significant improvement in certain areas but a lot of work needs to be done in other sectors as well. She hoped that Pakistan will accelerate reforms and legislation process by fully adhering with the EU commitments.

The EU envoy informed that the EU and Pakistan Business council will be formed to further cement the bilateral trade and economic ties. She invited the KP business community to become an associated of this council.  She noted that there is huge potential available in information technology, especially in KP gems and jewelry, mining, tourism and handicraft sector, which need to be tapped in an efficient manner.

Talking about relief and rehabilitation activities, Ms Kaminara said the EU has visible intervention in refugees’ relief, rehabilitation and development, saying that the steps are being taken for provision of facilitation and relief for Afghan refugees, which has been hosted by Pakistan for the last several decades.  

Former FPCCI Ghazanfar Bilour, ex-president Zahidullah Shinwari and others have highlighted that huge potential is available to make investment in KP natural resources, including gems and jewelry, marble, hydel power generation, honey, olive and mining sectors.

In reply to different queries of the participants, Ms Kaminara said the EU in partnership with German GIZ has conducted training skill training programs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and erstwhile Fata. He added that EU has also interventions regarding reforms in police, Counter terrorism department, women parliamentarians, etc. She said the KP, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan are amongst EU priority areas of development in Pakistan.  

Sajjad Aziz,

Secretary General, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry