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NA informed: Ministry lobbying for retaining GSP Plus status beyond 2018

NA informed: Ministry lobbying for retaining GSP Plus status beyond 2018




WASIM IQBAL

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Commerce in consultation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) is chalking out an effective lobbying and communication plan to retain GSP Plus facility beyond 2018.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan stated this in his written reply during the question and answer session of the National Assembly on Thursday.

The National Assembly suspended the question and answer session in order to discuss the unprovoked firing of Afghan forces in Chaman which led to martyrdom of 11 Pakistanis, including a soldier, and caused injuries to many others.

In a written reply, the commerce minister stated that Pakistan is chalking out plan not only to retain GSP Plus facility beyond 2018 but also to maximize benefits it can reap from this facility. The minister further stated that ministry of commerce is striving hard to retain GSP Plus facility in consultation with its trade officers posted abroad. The EU parliament is going to start a midterm review of its GSP Plus scheme in January 2018.

Pakistan has been enjoying duty-free access in all EU member states, including Bulgaria, as a result of the grant of GSP Plus facility since January 1, 2014. Pakistan’s exports to Bulgaria have increased from 10.5 million euros in 2013 to 14.2 million euros in 2016.

Replying to another question, the minister said that the maximum imports are currently being sourced from China. During the year 2015-16, the total imports were $ 12 billion and exports to China were $ 1.67 billion.

In another written reply, the minister for commerce said that Pakistan is currently negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with Thailand, Turkey and Iran. He further stated that six rounds of negotiations have been held so far with Thailand and Turkey. The seventh round of negotiations with Thailand is scheduled for May 15-19, 2017 in Bangkok while that with Turkey is under consideration. The main text of the agreement on trade in goods has been finalised with both these countries and negotiations on the items to be given concessionary market access to each other are under way.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Riaz Hussain Pirzada in a written reply said that the audit for Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017 is likely to be commenced during May 2017 since board of governors of PCB has desired an early audit of this tournament. The audit for PSL 2016 along with PCB audit has been completed and the auditor submitted the report on December 30, 2016. It showed an income of Rs 974.21 million and expenditure of Rs 909.43 million showing a surplus of Rs 64.78 million from PSL 2016.

The federal government has released Rs 1.7 billion to armed forces for rehabilitation of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) during the current fiscal year, revealed by Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch (retd) during question and answer session.

In a written reply, the minister stated that in annual budget 2016-17, an amount of Rs 1.8 billion was allocated for rehabilitation of TDPs, and Rs 1.7 billion were released to armed forces. Unspent fund of Rs 68.325 million is available against which Rs 50 million have been approved for the rehabilitation of mosques in South Waziristan Agency.

In another written reply, Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch (retd) stated that rule of law component of FATA reforms envisages the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Certain other actions initiated by the government include the promulgation of Rewaj Regulation, extension of the higher judiciary and strengthening of the law enforcement agencies, including levies for effective policing. The detailed judicial dispensation would materialise once the Rewaj Regulation is adopted which is currently being reviewed.

The minister further stated that an amount of Rs 3 billion was utilised on account of compensation (Shuhada Package) out of total released amount of Rs 3.5 billion during the last six years.

The House was also informed that 85 textile companies were registered and 31 companies were closed during July-April 2017 period.



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