The first-ever European Union (EU)-Pakistan Business Forum for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) was launched on Thursday, aimed at boosting trade with countries in the European Union.
The forum was inaugurated by the EU delegation to Pakistan and the ceremony was attended by the representatives of Pakistan’s small and mid-size enterprises, belonging to various sectors including information technology, jewellers and mining, fashion-wear, tourism and travel, gems, and handicraft, etc.
The forum will provide opportunities to SMEs in Pakistan to increase the use of the Generalized Scheme of Professional Plus (GSP+), bring in new EU investment, encourage European companies to import, and promote international sustainability standards.
GSP+ is an arrangement that gives opportunities to the developing countries access to the European market by slashing tariffs to zero on the maximum of the products.
The beneficiary countries have to implement 27 international conventions related to human rights, labor rights, protection of the environment, and good governance. It will also consider the impacts of Covid-19 on trade under GSP and will engage businesses to benefit from the facility.
Although at present, Pakistan’s exports to China, the USA, and the Middle East are the maximum yet European Union is in no way less important for the exports for Pakistani products as in the year 2020, the share of trade with EU was 14.3 percent, out of which the share of exports was 28 percent. Most of the exports to the EU from Pakistan consist of textile and related products.
As a result of GSP+, more than 78 percent of the country’s exports enter the European Union at preferential rates. At present when the neighboring countries such as India, Bangladesh, and China in which the impact of Covid-19 is severer, Pakistan has got a golden opportunity in the form of GSP+ to enhance the exports to the EU.