KARACHI, Aug 28: The United States, with support from the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and the Centre for International Private Enterprise organized a conference on Tuesday to promote exports and diversification of Pakistani goods to the US, especially under the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme and further deepen bilateral engagements.

”US markets are open,” said Consul General Michael Dodman, who arrived in Karachi last month, adding that the purpose of the event was to provide concrete information, discuss trade access and marketing and branding strategies to help boost Pakistani exports to the US.

“Pakistan enjoys a significant trade surplus with the US and its exports have amounted to about $3 billion over the previous few years, with about 90 per cent in textile and apparel, which presents an opportunity to diversify Pakistani exports to the US,” said Dodman.

The US GSP is a programme designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing duty free access to the US markets for goods imported from designated beneficiary developing countries.

According to Dodman, around 3,511 different products from Pakistan are eligible to enter the United States duty-free under the GSP program and out of the $18.5 billion worth of goods which were imported by US businesses under this programme in 2011, Pakistani products accounted for only $131 million.

One of the main problems is lack of awareness about the GSP programme, and Tuesday’s event was meant to serve as Pakistani exporters to understand and utilize the potential of the programme.

Many of Pakistan’s items are eligible for GSP duty-free including most manufactured items, inputs used in manufacturing, jewelry, carpets, certain agricultural products, many types of chemicals, minerals and marble. However the products not eligible for GSP duty-free access are most textiles and apparel, watches and most footwear, handbags, luggage, and leather products.

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