The Pakistan business community welcomes the European Union decision to retain the generalized system of preferences (GSP) plus status for two year. Under GSP+ Pakistani goods have duty-free access on 91 percent of EU tariff lines. The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has stressed the need for an aggressive marketing plan, besides implementing the prime ministerâ€™s export package to maximise benefits from the decision.
PRGMEA senior vice chairman Sheikh Luqman Amin said that Pakistan almost failed to take full advantage of the GSP plus benefit granted in 2014, primarily due to the indifferent attitude of the government departments towards the countryâ€™s textile sector, according to Pakistani media reports.
He said that about half of the exporters are yet to receive refunds under the previous package of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as the central bankâ€™s regional branches, which deal with more than 70 per cent of value-added textile exporters based in Punjab, are not ready to speedily process their cases.
Another key challenge is the tax regime and custom clearance procedures. The industry is subjected to a higher duty on raw materials compared to other countries, which makes the final product more expensive.
Due to cumbersome customs procedures and high duties on import of cotton yarn, artificial fibres and PTA, the garment industry has been unable to move from the existing cotton concentrated 80:20 mix to the globally-demanded 50:50 mix in its exports.
Chairman PRGMEA said that the renewal of GSP+ status for another two years is a golden opportunity which their exporters could exploit and make most out of it in order to meet export target of USD35 billion. The government should consider their time-barred claims similar to those of non-textile, since textile sector has been the main driver of the economy for the last 50 years in terms of foreign currency earnings and jobs creation. There is no alternative industry or service sector other than textile that has the potential to benefit the economy with foreign currency earnings and new job creation.
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