European Union is largest importer of Pakistani exports, more than the US and China combined; says EU Envoy

Ambassador of the European Union Androulla Kaminara said that EU was the largest importer of Pakistani exports which were 35 percent of Pakistan exports while USA’s share was 16 percent and China 6 percent.

She expressed these views during a webinar organized by Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR), chaired by Mr. Ikram Sehgal and moderated by Ambassador Mustafa Kamal Kazi.

The Ambassador said that the European Union is a Unique Economic and Political Union. She added that after the Second World War, with the creation of the European Economic Community in 1958.

“The logic of creating a Union between former enemies in Europe, who had fought the World War, was that the European Union exerts towards cooperation rather than aggression; which should be well understood that cooperation always gives benefits to both sides,” she said.

“The foremost goal of the European Union is to promote peace both within the Union and in the world, through economic and monetary systems to promote inclusion and negate discrimination, break down barriers and borders to trade and encourage technological and scientific developments, competitive global market, and social progress,” she added.

The Ambassador said that the European values are human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights that we practice both internally and externally.

The Ambassador said that EU is Pakistan’s partner since 1962 and this year, 60 years of diplomatic relationship will be celebrated.

Replying to a question, the envoy said that she was a lover of tourists’ attraction in Pakistan. The EU has also been providing grants in order to promote Pakistan tourist areas, she added.

While answering to another question, she said that the EU’s GSP is a well-established trade and development policy instrument, which has been in place since 1971. The current GSP framework, which expires by the end of 2023, is based on EU’s Regulation since 2012, she added.

“By eliminating or reducing import tariffs the scheme offers easier access to the EU market for goods exported from developing countries. Lower duties enable these countries to increase their exports to the EU and thus contribute to their economic growth and jobs creation, including diversifying their economies,” she added.

She said that the EU’s GSP supports sustainable development, as tariff preferences are conditional on the respect for human rights, labor rights, environmental protection and good governance and Pakistan textiles could find a bigger market in the EU in the coming years.

Ambassador Mustafa Kamal Kazi highlighted as to how much Pakistan valued and shared outstanding multifaceted relationship with the EU and bilaterally with all its member states.

He said that the EU had provided more than 1.3 billion Euros for projects and programs in Pakistan and since the grant of GSP plus in 2014 Pakistan’s exports to EU had enhanced from 4.5 billion Euros in 2013 to 7.4 billion euros in 2019, registering increase of 65% that the EU had inherent strategic advantage to play a constructive balancing role in increasing polarized multi-polar global dispensation that we see today.

Chairman Ikram Sehgal thanked and said that the first European to reach India by sea was Vasco da Gama in 1498 and all trade had been conducted from the sea. While, now there existed two corridors in which Pakistan has been counted in the Eurasia Section.

“While other sectors were Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and Europe too and additionally because of the location of Gwadar, in Indian Ocean, there are two other important corridors, one is North-South Corridor, linking Russia and Central Asian States into Gwadar and the other is old RCD highway (West-Corridor) which connected Europe, through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and these are actually capable of working today also,” he said.

He acknowledged EU’s Financial inclusion in the World Banks sustainable goals, particularly in the women’s empowerment which needed to be discussed further because EU’s contention of human right which would be included in women’s empowerment also.

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