KARACHI  - Pakistan’s exports to the European Union (EU) can surge by at least 30 to 40 per cent or $700 million to $ 1 billion in value if we fully utilize our existing potential and capacity in 75 items, now enjoying duty-free access to the EU for two years.

This was stated by the chief executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Tariq Iqbal Puri while giving his comments on the approval of Council for Trade in Goods (CTG) of World Trade Organisation (WTO) to the zero-duty access of EU to Pakistan on 75 items mostly textiles products.

It may be noted that EU Commission had proposed the Emergency Autonomous Trade Preference for Pakistan early 2010 for three to help Pakistan to recover from 2010’s floods, and submitted this package to the WTO for waiver in October 2010, which has now been granted by the WTO members on 1st February, 2012.

The duration of the concession has been reduced to two years, instead of three years. However, it was further approved that EU reserves its right to request an extension of this duration by another year if it considers that this is necessary for the economic recovery of Pakistan.

Puri said that among 75 items, 20 products have been subjected to quantitative limitation. This limitation is based on average import quantity, in tons, three years (2007, 2008 and 2009) plus 20% increment, except ethanol which has limited to 80,000 metric tons at three years average plus 24% increment, while in the original text this limit was up to 100,000 tonnes, he noted.

He said that EU’s total world import of these 75 products is estimated at $43.8 billion and Pakistan’s export of these items to EU stands at $ 1.4 billion which is about 27 percent of Pakistan’s total export of $ 5.1 billion to the European Union.

The export of $ 1.4 billion in these items to EU under the present tariff structure is a clear indication that Pakistan can raise its share manifold if allowed duty free access in European market. He was confident that value of Pakistan’s exports to EU in these items can go up significantly, provided exporters are facilitated by the government in terms of utility supply round the year.

Puri said that in ethyl alcohol alone, Pakistan can export up to 80,000 metric tons quantity to EU without any duty, thus can double its exports from current $ 37 million (at 20% duty) to fetch at least $ 100 million. Brazil (31%), Egypt (10%) and Peru are the major suppliers to EU, paying a duty of 20 percent, he noted.

Similarly, in the category of gloves (six lines 4203100-910-991-999), Pakistan with 12 % share, can raise its export in EU from present $ 120 million to $ 250 million easily under duty free regime with the help of good marketing strategy.

He said that China and India are the major supplier of gloves to EU with 40% and 16% share respectively and paying a duty of 4.5 percent.

Puri noted that Pakistan can raise its exports to EU from current $ 534 million to $ 750 million in two lines of leather, three lines of cotton yarn, four lines of women fabrics and garments, five lines of knitted garments and two lines of toilette linen.

In three lines of footwear, we can enhance our exports to EU from current $ 32 million to double under zero duty to EU which is importing shoes of various kinds worth $ 8.8 billion.

In the category of women garments, Pakistan can also enhance its share from $ 20 million to $ 50 million to EU whose imports touched 1.5 billion in 2010. Our major competitors are China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam who are subjected to 9.6 % duty, he added.

Puri pointed out that in four categories of drapery, tapestry and upholstery, where Pakistan can raise its exports from more than $ 60 million to $ 100 million enjoying exemption from 9.6 % duty.