GSP Plus status to Pakistan: UK supports EC Proposal

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UK State Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Green on Thursday said that the United Kingdom strongly supported the European Commission's proposal to extend GSP Plus status to Pakistan.
"Negotiations are under way and we are pleased that the European Parliament's draft report has welcomed the extension of GSP Plus status," he said in his speech to members of the Karachi School for Business and Leadership (KSBL) about the role of education in the UK and Pakistan's trade relationship held at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi.

UK Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi, who is accompanying Lord Green on his first visit to Pakistan as Trade Minister, UK Deputy High Commissioner and Director UK Trade and Investment Francis Campbell were also present on the occasion.

Lord Green said that the UK was the top destination in Europe for exports from Pakistan.

It is also the largest European investor in Pakistan.

Of the international businesses operating here, one in six is British and the UK is Pakistan's strongest advocate for market access to the EU, he added.

He said the UK exports in goods to Pakistan have shown double-digit growth over the last year.

He noted that Pakistan's exports to the UK rose by 17 percent in the months from January to October, with particularly strong growth in textiles.

Lord Green said there was further potential for developing bilateral trade as UK consumers have now become more aware of what Pakistan has to offer.

He highlighted the strategic partnership between the Karachi School for Business and Leadership with the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.

"One of the most important areas where we can work together to ensure future prosperity is education", he said and added it is an area in which the UK and Pakistan are already jointly engaged and where, in a country with 33 million students, there is huge potential.

"There are more people studying for O and A levels in Pakistan - some 170,000 of them - than anywhere else outside the UK", he said.

"We have 30,000 students from Pakistan in the UK, and graduates of UK universities are the backbone of many businesses here in Pakistan," he added.

Thousands of Pakistani students who have ACCA and CIMA accounting qualifications can help improve trade and investment between the two countries, he said.

"Prime Minister David Cameron announced 650 million for education sector in Pakistan during his visit last year and these UK funds will help get more than four million children into school, help recruit and train 90,000 teachers and provide six million sets of textbooks," Lord Green said.

Hussain Dawood, Chairman, Karachi School for Business and Leadership, while speaking on the occasion said Pakistan was faced with numerous internal and external challenges and one of the ways these could be addressed was by nurturing and grooming its human talents.

He said the best way to do so was by establishing centres of excellence for applied education and training.

He said KSBL was one such example, being established in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, offering world-class education in leadership and business with a focus on ethics and social responsibility.

A number of people including members of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Karachi and members of Pakistan Business Council attended the event.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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