Belgian ambassador urges Pakistan to apply for new GSP Plus regulation

Belgian ambassador urges Pakistan to apply for new GSP Plus regulation


KARACHI: During a farewell visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), Belgium’s Ambassador Charles Delogne emphasized the need for Pakistan to apply for the new GSP Plus regulation. Although the EU’s GSP Plus for Pakistan has been extended until 2027, new regulations will come into effect sooner. Therefore, Pakistan’s business community should inform political authorities about the upcoming changes.

GSP Plus is an agreement with the EU that includes commitments to human rights, labor rights, and environmental protection. This is important for Pakistan, which faces severe climate change impacts. Delogne noted that Pakistan has benefited from the GSP Plus, making the EU its main trade partner. In 2023, trade between Belgium and Pakistan was balanced, indicating a strong economic relationship.

President of KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh highlighted Pakistan’s commitment to GSP Plus, with exports to the EU exceeding $8 billion in the fiscal year 2023. He mentioned that Belgium was one of Pakistan’s largest export destinations in the EU, with exports totaling around $405 million from July 2023 to March 2024. To improve trade, Sheikh suggested Belgium explore opportunities in various sectors like mining, energy, agriculture, IT, and tourism through joint ventures.

Sheikh also stressed the importance of learning from Belgium’s expertise in ports and shipping to enhance Pakistan’s port capacity. Simplifying customs procedures and improving the ease of doing business were identified as ways to reduce trade barriers and boost trade.

Additionally, Sheikh proposed creating links between educational institutions in both countries to enhance the capabilities of Pakistani universities. He also pointed out potential sectors for joint ventures, including automobiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, textiles, and tourism.