EU trade preference scheme to start from November

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 1:30:04 by

LAHORE: Pakistan’s trade with European countries under the European Union Autonomous Trade Preference Scheme will start from November 1 and an EU notification in this regard is expected by the 28th of this month, says Mujeeb Ahmed Khan, Head of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Cell of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

Speaking at a seminar on “Implementation of EU Autonomous Trade Preference Scheme”, jointly organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and TDAP, Khan said the TDAP was prepared to issue online certificates from November to potential businessmen interested in doing business with the EU under the trade preference scheme.

However, he made it clear that for the remaining two months of the year (November and December), only 25% of the annual quota would be available for duty-free access while 100% quota would be provided from January next year.

The TDAP will issue guidelines to all chambers of commerce in the country on issuance of country-origin certificates within a week. The businessmen doing business under the trade preference scheme will have to disclose particulars of their buyers in the EU.

It was a big success that Pakistan got this opportunity despite opposition from Portugal, Greece and Spain that were not only Pakistan’s competitors in Europe but also members of the EU, he remarked.

Under the scheme, only the European Commission will manage the quota while the basic role of Pakistani authorities will be to confirm that the exported products were of Pakistani origin so that they could qualify for trade concessions.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said TDAP’s initiative was very crucial to set the priority right and to make the business community ready to fully exploit the benefits of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)-Plus status, which will be granted to Pakistan in January 2014.

He said the trade preference scheme would certainly allow the businessmen to reach out to new buyers as well, therefore, the private sector must prove that Pakistan was fully capable of producing quality goods as per international standards.

Iftikhar asked the TDAP to take on board private sector’s representative bodies while finalising any scheme or agreement on trade. He stressed that engineering products should also be made part of the scheme as Pakistan had gained expertise and was exporting tractors and tractor spare parts to many European countries.

“Businesses can never become more agile and fast in delivering products and services without a well-tailored strategy and market intelligence.” There was a need for businesses to optimise their operations by developing right infrastructure, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2012.

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