Islamabad: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hailed the restoration of GSP Plus program by the United States for Pakistan and termed it a highly positive development for the economy of Pakistan as it would help in improving country’s exports and reduce trade deficit. US has renewed its GSP program for Pakistan through Dec 31, 2017 effective retrospectively between Aug 1, 2013 and July 28, 2015.
Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the total volume of US procurement was around $1.7 trillion and restoration of GSP Plus has created a good opportunity for Pakistani exporters to get better penetration in the huge US market.
He said after the grant of GSP Plus by the European Union, Pakistani exports to EU have increased by 21 percent and added that the concession of duty-free access to US market have created fresh prospects for further boosting our exports.
He said under the GSP, Pakistan could export more than 3,500 items to the US market without paying any duties on them. However, he said most of textiles and leather products have not been included in this facility despite the fact that these are our main exports. He urged upon the government to try to convince US authorities for inclusion of textiles and leather products in GSP Plus facility so that Pakistan could realize maximum benefit from this concession.
Muzzamil Hussain Sabri said that Pakistan and US are key allies against terrorism, but the bilateral trade between the two countries was just US$ 5.3 billion, which was far less than the actual potential. He said both countries should step up efforts for improving volume of two-way trade that will further strengthen mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.
He said government should fully cooperate with private sector in its efforts aimed at diversification of exports in order to get full benefit of GSP Plus program. He said government should also support exporters in capacity building so that they could compete more effectively in the international markets. He said government should ensure uninterrupted power and gas supply to industries to reap full benefits of GSP Plus concession.
ICCI President said the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued instructions for obtaining retrospective GSP treatment and stressed that government should create better awareness in exporters about getting refunds of duties paid during August 1, 2013 through July 28, 2015 so that exporters could file claims with CBP for duty free treatment of their exports made during the said period.