ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood has hinted that the European Union might extend Pakistan’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) in March.

Talking to journalists in Islamabad on Thursday, the adviser said, “We are optimistic that the EU will extend the GSP+ status [for 2022] in March. The prime minister had held fruitful meetings with the concerned persons, including the EU members, during his visit to Davos, where I had also met the EU legislators in an attempt to gain support for GSP extension.”

He informed media that US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ recent visit to Pakistan was finalized during PM Imran Khan’s meeting with President Donald Trump in Davos, adding that Pak-US relations would be strengthened further after the Taliban-US peace pact.

Dawood said that Pakistan wanted greater market access and investment from the US and that the same was communicated to the US official in meetings. He said that the US officials had informed them of areas where Pakistan could take benefit by sending its products.

“We have agreed to summon a meeting regarding the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). In addition, a business opportunity conference would also be held in the US in the coming months.”

The adviser said he had asked the US commerce secretary to open representative offices of prominent US brands in Pakistan, in line with their investments in Bangladesh, India and other countries.

He further said that he requested his US counterpart to fully facilitate its travel advisory to Pakistan so that relations between both countries could be taken forward. “But he said the US State Department looks after such matters and that he so cannot say anything regarding this.”

Dawood said the US official was apprised of Pakistan’s investment potential in energy, oil & gas, agriculture, food processing and e-commerce sectors, adding that the visiting delegation had expressed a keen interest to invest in these areas.

Replying to a question, the adviser said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor was open for Americans and “we have also offered them to take advantage of the framework.”

He said that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was a long exercise which takes eight to ten years. “As for now, we focused on GSP with the US on how we can take more benefit from this pact.”

He noted that the US was the biggest export market for Pakistan and that the trade volume between the two countries would witness a significant increase in the coming months.

On another query, he said that Pakistani exports in the first seven months increased 2.25pc whereas the exports of India, Bangladesh and China dipped during the same period.

“So it is be wrong to say that the government is not doing anything.”

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