KARACHI: Contrary to the general perception of massive gains in the offing, a realistic assessment suggests GSP+ may translate into a gain of merely $1.2 billion per annum in terms of monetary growth in exports. Under EU regulation, no country enjoying concessional export scheme can cross the threshold of two per cent of the EU’s total imports originating from 89 countries.

In case of any violation or exceeding the limits given in the threshold for each item in terms of volume and value, a country stands to be excluded from the scheme. Previously, Pakistan was unable to get the GSP+ status as it had crossed the threshold that was in practice at the time.

Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF) Chairman Mohammad Jawed Bilwani said that undoubtedly many international conventions have to be met by individual manufacturers in their establishments, but even today a large number of manufacturers-cum-exporters are already ILO-compliant and honour UN conventions. He said exporters regularly undergo auditing from world-reputed firms like SGS, WRAP etc. and get relevant certifications.

“However, I am fearful about the shortcomings on the part of the government which seems to be still not prepared to face the situation,” he said. Citing an example, Mr Bilwani said that even today there is no system in place to monitor day-to-day exports to EU so that figures are compared with that of last year.

This is necessary so that every exporter should know the quantity of each item exported at any given time.

Without monitoring, “we could cross the threshold and become defaulters of GSP+ scheme and may be removed by the EU for the list of beneficiaries”.

Another major problem, he said, was related to fire-fighting facilities at the community level and there have been incidents that exposed limitations in this regard.

Effluent treatment plants at community level are also not in place because many old industrial areas have grown vertically and could not have their individual plants but had to rely upon combined treatment plants on a community basis, he said.

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