KARACHI - Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Lars-Gunnar Wigemark has said that European Union (EU) is the largest trading partner of Pakistan with an annual trade volume of over 8b euro. Pakistan is an attractive market for EU for trade and investment.

During his visit to KCCI Ambassador articulated that the ball is in the court of Pakistan to effectively negotiate with EU to obtain GSP plus in 2014. From 1st January 2014 the EU’s new GSP regime will come into force which will be valid for 7 to 8 years from 2014. Pakistan has yet not applied for GSP Plus. New regulations have been adopted to accommodate countries such as Pakistan. EU treats its trade partners equally. Government may establish special group to timely negotiate as the EU Commission in Brussels will take at least six month time to evaluate application. If Pakistan qualifies for GSP plus, which involves Pakistan’s record of implementation of 27 international conventions it has already signed and ratified, related to human rights, labour rights, environment, governance etc., it will be able to export most of its products to EU duty free/quota free. We have expectations and hope that Pakistan may qualify for GSP Plus in EU.

Chairman Businessmen Group & former President KCCI speaking on the occasion stated that it is heartening to note that EU countries leaders are supportive of the proposal to accommodate Pakistan in the new GSP Plus initiative from 2014 onwards. Pakistan is fortunate to be a preferred, strategic and largest economic partner of European Union.

He hoped Pakistan will qualify for the GSP Plus commencing from 2014, providing the Pakistani exporters to enhance export to EU.

KCCI President Muhammad Haroon Agar stated that Pakistan seeks fair access to EU market access and to get GSP Plus status. He hoped that after attainment of GSP Plus, Pakistan’s trade with EU countries will make a quantum leap. We are pleased to note that the EU-Pakistan bilateral trade exceeded 8 billion Euros, ranking the EU as Pakistan’s first trading partner.