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US should enhance scope of GSP scheme for Textile sector-Zafar Bakhtawari April 18, 2013
Meeting at ICCI
 
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) organized a webinar on US imports from Pakistan under Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Program in collaboration with US Embassy and Ministry of  Commerce.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr.Zafar Bakhtawari, President ICCI said that USA is already the Pakistan’s single largest export market taking almost 16 percent of our total exports but there is a greater need to take measures for further promoting Pakistan’s exports under GSP scheme to USA.
 
Mr.Bakhtawari said that Pakistan is very strong in textile sector and this sector contributes more than 60 percent to our total exports but most of our textiles products are not eligible for GSP duty-free access to US market. He said that it is highly appreciative if US enhance the scope of GSP scheme to most of our textile products which would help in further improving Pakistan’s exports to USA.
 
Mr.Robert Ewing, Economic Counsellor US Embassy explained how Pakistani exporters can further take advantage of the duty-free access to the United States currently available for over 3,500 Pakistani products under the GSP program. He said that US imports from Pakistan under the Generalized System of Preferences program surged by 49 percent in 2012, touching $195 million.
 
Mr.James Fluker, Commercial Consellor said, “Pakistan can enhance its duty-free exports to the United States. Pakistan exported $3.6 billion worth of goods to the United States in 2012, yet only 5.7 percent of that amount took advantage of the duty-free treatment available under the GSP program. Pakistan, therefore, has the opportunity to expand its exports substantially under the GSP.”
 
Citing an example of how Pakistani exporters can enhance sales to the United States under the GSP, he said that Pakistani exports of gemstones, precious metals and jewellery to the United States showed impressive growth of 300 percent in 2012 which is around $32.4 million.
 
The US officials advised Pakistani exporters that there are several ways to make the most of the available tariff advantage. He said that by using GSP as a marketing tool with the US buyers, the US importers may be willing to buy new products from Pakistan or buy more of a particular product if they know that the item is eligible for the duty-free treatment under the GSP.
 
Ms.Robina Athar, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce highlighted the importance of GSP scheme to the business community of Federal Capital and asked them to avail the opportunities available for them under this scheme. 
 
Pakistani exporters in major business hubs, including Karachi, Islamabad, Gujrat, Peshawar, Faisalabad and Sialkot attended this live videoconference presentation by the USTR at the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) office in Karachi and at several chambers of commerce and industry offices across Pakistan.