Pakistan textile sector eys boost from EU export deal

KARACHI, December 13, 2013 (AFP) – Pakistan’s textile sector Friday welcomed a European Union’s move to cut duties on the country’s exports, saying it would add billions to the economy, but it warned an energy crisis could prevent firms from benefiting from the windfall. The EU on Thursday signed a law granting Pakistan generalised system of preference (GSP) status meaning firms will pay no tax on goods exported to the 27-nation bloc for 10 years from January.

“Hopefully, we will see an increase of $1 billion in the present levels of exports for the first year of GSP,” Yasin Siddique, the chairman of Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) told AFP.

With the new cash that could flow in thanks to Pakistan’s GSP status, Islamabad hopes for a boost to job opportunities for textile workers and other upstream sectors.

“We expect to generate two million jobs in the textile sector with the additional work likely to be generated,” said S.M. Tanveer, the APTMA president of the Punjab province, which accounted for $9.7 billion of the country’s $13.2 billion textile exports in the fiscal year to June.

The textile industry is the backbone of Pakistan’s exports, making up more than 50 percent of the country’s total overseas shipments.

However, the industry