Faisalabad, 28 October 2022 (TDI): The European Union’s (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr. Riina Kionka visited Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) in Faisalabad on Thursday, 27 October 2022.

Numerous textile exporters attended the event, including former PTEA Chairman Muhammad Ahmad, former Vice Chairman Muhammad Naeem, Ameer Ahmad, and Executive Member, Rana Zahid Touseef.

While discussing the issues of Pakistan’s Textile industry and labor forces, Riina Kionka asserted that relations between the EU and Pakistan have a strategic component that addresses all pertinent issues.

These include issues related to commerce, climate change, GSP-Plus status, and counterterrorism. For Pakistan’s economy, the Generalized Scheme Preferences (GSP-Plus) status.

GSP-Plus status is extremely important for Pakistan because it has been instrumental in the growth of multilateral commerce.

Riina Kionka added that the GSP-Plus program will come to an end the next year, and a mission is currently putting together a final report on the last ten years that will be considered in Brussels and the EU Parliament.

The EU Parliament will decide whether Pakistan should reapply for the GSP-Plus designation in four to five months.

Pakistan would take advantage of all the benefits associated with the GSP-Plus status during this application period, she continued.

She stated that in addition to the other 27 treaties, the continuation of the GSP-Plus status is contingent upon the approval of five to six new conventions relating to environmental and social requirements.

In addition, she went on to reiterate that the current GSP-Plus program should be broadened to include other industries since it is now restricted to the textile industry.

Before this, PTEA’s Patron-in-Chief, Khurram Mukhtar lauded the EU for taking decisive action to boost Pakistan’s economy and for providing flood victims with both monetary and in-kind aid.

He called GSP-Plus status a “huge turnaround” and noted that in addition to increasing Pakistan’s market share in the EU, exports there had increased by 86% from €3.56 billion in 2013 to €6.64 billion in 2021, because of duty-free access to the market.

A leading exporter, Ch. Shahid Nazir claimed that the EU is always keeping an eye on how 27 international agreements are being implemented in the GSP-Plus recipient nations, particularly regarding human rights, labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance.

According to him, the GSP-Plus program has also benefited the EU because it has made it possible for enterprises there to buy high-quality textile products from Pakistan at reasonable prices.

Despite the textile sector acquiring machinery from the EU, Pakistan’s imports from the EU have also increased, going from $4.4 billion in 2013 to $6.4 billion in 2021.