Facility of GSP plus to remain intact by Dec 31, 2023: Khurram Dastgir

APP54-20 FAISALABAD: February 20 - Federal Minister for commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan addressing at Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry FCCI. APP photo by Tasawar Abbas

FAISALABAD, Feb 20 (APP): Federal Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir on Monday said the facility of GSP plus granted to Pakistan by European Union would remain intact by December 31, 2023, so Pakistani exporters should fully concentrate on enhancing their exports to the potential markets of EU countries.
Addressing a function in Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), he termed Faisalabad as the engine for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan and said some elements were expressing undue apprehensions about the disruption of GSP Plus facility.
He said mid-term review of GSP plus was also scheduled during next
year but it did not mean that this facility was being withdrawn. He said, “There is a huge untapped potential to increase trade with eastern EU countries and hence we should fully exploit these available opportunities.”
The federal minister said the present government had privilege to
recruit 13 commercial officers purely on merit basis who had been deputed in various potential countries and the business community should remain in touch with them to fully avail from their expertise.
He said the exporters must remain in contact with them while travelling to these countries. He told that few months back he was in Brussels to attend a meeting regarding GSP Plus. During this visit he also chaired a two-day conference of commercial officers deputed in European Union and added that they also responded to the questions asked by representatives of various associations of Karachi on Skype. He said
such meeting could also be arranged for FCCI.
“Pakistan has inked Free Trade Agreements with China, Malaysia, Sri
Lanka and Indonesia which are underutilized,” he said and added that the business community should fully exploit these FTAs and he was ready to depute commercial officer from TDAP or from his ministry to guide them in this respect.
Khurram Dastgir said the situation had improved in Pakistan as compared to 2013. “We are going to establish a banking system with Iran within next couple of weeks which will open new opportunities for the Pakistani businessmen.” He said the federal government had already approved this proposal and work on it would be started as soon as it was signed by the concerned authorities.
He said the Prime Minister had successfully made breakthrough in five major fields including restoration of peace, stability in the financial affairs of the government, stability in foreign reserves, switching over to historically lowest interest rate and resolving energy crisis. He hoped that 2017 would be the best year for the economy of Pakistan.
He further said the prices of electricity and gas would start decreasing during this year while the construction of motorway up to Karachi would ensure safe and secure connectivity between all parts of the country.
He said international flights had already started from the airports of Faisalabad, Multan and Sialkot. Similarly, the stability in the democratic system was yet another achievement of this government, he said and added, “Now we are in a position to request foreign countries that have issued travel advisories to withdraw it as such directives are not feasible in the prevailing circumstances.”
He asked the businessmen to submit their proposals specifically for the
export oriented industry through which the surcharge of Rs. 3.4 could be eliminated for the exporters.
Regarding Rs 180 billion textile package, he said the government was
not restricted to this amount. “We are ready to pay them much more incentives up to Rs 360 billion provided exporters play their role in doubling their exports.” He further clarified the subsidy would be for total export proceeds made up to June 30, 2017. He said in this connection after the approval of government the State Bank had issued a circular however he would try to adopt a system for the payment of subsidy on quarterly basis from next year.
About the payment of refund cases Khurram Dastgir said the government  had paid refund amounting to 50 billion. He would request the PM to pay yet another big traunch within next few months, he said and intended that all pending refund cases should be disposed of positively before the announcement of next year budget.
Regarding duty on cotton yarn, he said he would review these issues
in a scheduled meeting of Pakistan Textile Board. About Faisalabad Expo Center, he said that funds from EDF would be released as soon as the land was transferred to the construction company.
Earlier, President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Engineer Muhammad Saeed Sheikh presented his address of welcome and underlined various issues faced by the business community of Faisalabad.
A question answer session was also held in which Chaudhry Muhammad Nawaz, M Ismael, Dr. Khurram Tariq, Mian Imtiaz Ahmad and Mujtaba Hasan participated.
Later, President FCCI presented FCCI shield to the Federal Minister while VP Engineer Ahmad Hasan offered vote of thanks.