KARACHI: Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Friday announced the formation of Pakistan-EU Business Forum, a move that is aimed at reaping maximum benefits from GSP Plus.

Speaking at a luncheon meeting held at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), the governor spoke about difficulties faced in convincing member countries of European Union to vote in favour of Pakistan on GSP Plus.

He further stressed that Pakistani industry must prepare for compliance of 27 UN conventions necessary to reap benefits from the GSP Plus.

Earlier, Aptma Chairman Yasin Siddik pledged to double Pakistan’s textile exports from current $13 billion to $26bn in the next five years.

He said that Aptma has undertaken a number of initiatives to keep the textile industry at par with global standards and expectations in respect of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, gender balance, etc.

Textile exports were $14bn in the year 2010-11 but dropped to $13.1bn in 2012-13, he said. He attributed stagnation in the industry to a variety of factors that include infrastructure deficiencies and limited market.

Aptma foresees new investment of $1bn and creation of one million direct and indirect jobs annually in years ahead which is expected to boost GDP growth by 1 to 2 per cent and a doubling of the cotton crop from 13 to 26m bales.

“The EU’s duty free access status to Pakistan has opened the door to balance our trade deficit if the government ensures steady supply of raw material and uninterrupted energy,” he noted.

Availability of cheap financing, say at 3 per cent, would help to initiate captive power generation on appreciable scale and the government needs to make such an option available, he said.

He urged to improve the per acre yield of cotton to increase production from 13 million bales to 26 million by improving seed quality and developing remedy for cotton leaf curl virus, white fly and mealy bugs.

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