Sajjad Karim MEP today expressed his desire to see Pakistan move from the improvement stage towards the implementation stage on GSP+.

Dr Karim – who played a lead role in securing the coveted trade scheme for Pakistan – voiced his opinion during a specially convened meeting of the International Trade Committee’s Monitoring Group for South Asia that the British MEP Chairs, during which Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce & Textiles, Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, and Attorney General, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, both gave evidence on their country’s current GSP+ status.

Speaking in Brussels, Dr Karim said:

“The relationship between the EU and Pakistan we, of course, regard as an important one. Under the GSP+ scheme Pakistan has benefited beyond expectations, with their garments’ exports to the EU increasing significantly since being awarded the trade status.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Commerce Minister Malik & Attorney General Ali to the European Parliament and I am grateful for the evidence they gave to the Committee which will now become an official part of our policy-making in regard to our trade relationship.

“Pakistan must now ensure though that they move from the improvement stage to the implementation stage. They must continue to meet the targets set by the EU that come as being a part of the GSP+ scheme and retain the trade status that is helping to boost their economy.

“There also needs to be trade diversification on many levels. Relying so heavily on one product category, such as the garment industry, carries risks for Pakistan. Business to business links between the EU and Pakistan must also be improved if trade and growth are to be increased.”

The British MEP also noted the current political situation in the UK regarding Brexit, highlighting that the majority of Pakistan’s textiles exports go there, so this would have to be factored into any future policies.

Dr Karim was instrumental in Pakistan gaining its coveted GSP+ trade status and in 2015 was awarded the Sitara-i-Qaid-i-Azam – the highest national honour to non-Pakistanis for services that have helped the country – joining ranks with the British Queen and Nelson Mandela.

He also Chairs the Friends of Pakistan Group within the European Parliament.