The European Union and Pakistan Business Council should work together to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties with particular focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara on Friday.

Speaking at a meeting during a visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the EU ambassador discussed possibilities of further improving EU-Pakistan bilateral trade and said that the European Union was committed to working together to facilitate EU’s trade with Karachi and the rest of the country.

Kaminara stressed the need for ensuring implementation of conventions on human and labour rights so that the GSP Plus status granted to Pakistan by EU countries could continue without any issue. However, she said in the 2020 review report, Pakistan had made significant improvement in certain areas but a lot more needed to be done in other sectors as well.

She stated that progress on reforms and implementation of conventions was reviewed biennially and special trade incentives like the GSP status would be withdrawn if the report found that the country was not fully abiding by the obligations.

Appreciating the progress on some of the conventions out of the total 27 conventions signed by Pakistan, including legislation for the protection of journalist community, she emphasised the need to expedite reforms and steps for legislation on disappearance, torture, abuse and inspection of factories to meet all EU obligations.

KCCI President Shariq Vohra said, “The GSP Plus, which created abundant employment opportunities that helped in dealing with the economic crisis to an extent, should not be disturbed and the European Union must continue it for a longer period of time to enable the industry to deal with challenges in a highly competitive world.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2021.

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