Political instability pushes GSP+ into doldrums

* EU says current situation in Pakistan concerns them * Urges all parties to act responsibly and refrain from using violence


KARACHI: Pakistan has failed to reap the benefits of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus Status yet, whereas the prevailing political crisis may lead the country to get washed its hands of the advantages in case of any political setback, the European Union’s (EU) statement hinted.
The European Union (EU) has shown a deep concern on current political situation of Pakistan in the context of GSP Pus Status saying, “We are deeply concerned by the current situation in Pakistan and are monitoring events closely. We reiterate our conviction that the current impasse should be resolved peacefully through dialogue within the framework of the constitution and we urge all parties to act responsibly and to refrain from using violence.” 
“Our strong commitment to the economic prosperity of a democratic Pakistan is reflected in the increased market access to the EU enjoyed by Pakistan under “GSP+” arrangements,” the statement added.
The statement can be attributed undoubtedly as an alarming message to the country, which is already passing through its worst-ever phase. If the political system of the Pakistan faces any unconstitutional hindrance then it is obvious that the Pakistan will lose its one of the biggest achievement of the decade due to the non seriousness of political parties.
The EU granted Pakistani products a duty free access to the European market, which has been effective from January 2014, but the Pakistan did not acquire the appropriate benefits due to lack of facilitation in terms of power supply to the textile sector.
Following the GSP Plus status, the textile group exports’ figures of the Pakistan for the first seven month period (January 2014–July 2014) registered minimal growth of 2 percent to $8.00 billion as compared to $7.83 billion in the same period in 2013 where exporters did not have the said ease.
The GSP Plus status allows almost 20 percent of Pakistani exports to enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70 percent at preferential rates.
An analyst at BMA Research anticipated another dismal month as he believes that the monthly figures of August 2014 to make for another sorry reading given Eid holidays as well as political instability grappling the country.
Meanwhile, prices of cotton have continued their nosedive in the country, in tandem with the international prices, and are currently hovering around Rs 5400/Rs 5700/maund. As the harvesting season draws ever so close, and as most of the cotton producing countries report a good product, the analyst expects the bearish sentiments on the prices of cotton to continue.
Textiles, which contributed roughly 54 percent to country’s overall exports during Fiscal Year 2013-14 (FY14), also reported a decline with non-value added items like raw cotton, cloth and yarn reporting declines of 8 percent Year on Year (YoY), 13 percent YoY and 35 percent YoY, respectively.
Value added exports, however, continued to post good numbers as knitwear, garments and bed wear all reported increases of 22 percent YoY, 4 percent YoY and 15 percent YoY, respectively.
Impressive increase in volumes of knitwear, bedwear and garments reflect materialization of benefits from GSP plus, analyst believed.

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