Nov 232015

ISLAMABAD: The European Union official in charge of migration was in Islamabad on Monday for talks after the country last week suspended an accord to accept deportations from mainland Europe.The suspension of deportation accord comes at a time when European leaders facing an influx of migration are desperate to streamline procedures for repatriations.European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos met foreign policy chief and interior minister on Monday, EU spokesperson Ayesha Babar said in Islamabad.Pakistan suspends deportation accordsShe added that the one-day visit was planned in advance.“He’s not coming just because of the statements” by officials that the country would no longer accept deportees from Europe,” she said.EU nations signed a deal with Pakistan in 2009 allowing them to repatriate illegal immigrants and other nationalities who transited through Pakistan on their way to Europe.But last week, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said airlines returning deportees without country’s permission would be penalised.Pakistan would not accept any deportees accused of militant links without clear evidence of guilt, Nisar added.A spokesperson for the ministry later confirmed the EU repatriation agreement was “temporarily suspended”.Pakistan may review deportation accord suspensionThe EU has not officially commented on the decision, though Avramopoulos was scheduled to speak later on Monday.Globally, about 90,000 people were deported back to Pakistan last year for a variety of offences, but in some cases they had been sent back without proper determination they were Pakistan nationals, the interior ministry spokesperson said.It was not immediately clear exactly how many came from Europe, although the figure is in the thousands.Europe [Read More…]

Jan 182014
Car registration in EU takes a slight hit


Registrations for new cars in the European Union slid 1.7% in 2013, manufacturer data showed Thursday, although country figures were varied, with Britain showing a big increase while sales in Italy and France slumped.

A total of 11.8 million new cars were sold across the bloc last year (not including Malta), according to the data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

The 1.7% decline compared with 2012 confirmed a lingering morosity in the European Union (EU), which is still struggling after four years of a Eurozone debt crisis.

However, the decline was markedly less than the 8.2% dive recorded in 2012 – which was the worst result for 18 years – suggesting the overall market could be stabilising. In the last four months of 2013, registrations actually climbed, and December recorded a 13.3% increase.

The situation was brightest in Britain, an EU country that is not a member of the Eurozone, with a 10.8% increase in new car registrations in 2013.

Beleaguered Eurozone members Italy and France had a far worse year, with registrations plummeting 7.1% and 5.7%, respectively.

The EU’s biggest economy Germany saw registrations slide by 4.2%.

Japanese carmaker Mazda performed the best in EU-wide car sales, lifting registrations of its brand 16.1% across the bloc.

Jaguar Land Rover also did well, up 9.7%, while France’s Renault managed a 4.4 percent hike.

Those left with smaller slices of the market were French group PSA Peugeot Citroen – which US auto giant General Motors is selling out of – after an 8.4% plummet in registration, and Italy’s Fiat – which this month took over US number three carmaker Chrysler – after a 7.1% slump.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2014.

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Jan 072014
Looking forward : Punjab governor expresses optimism over GSP Plus

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Governor Chaudhary Mohammad Sarwar on Tuesday said that the GSP Plus status would be instrumental for the new government in achieving long-term goals of stabilising the economy, accelerating growth and poverty alleviation.

Describing the distinctive features of the GSP Plus to Pakistan, the Punjab governor said that it would benefit Pakistan’s largest manufacturing and export sectors like textile, clothing and enable the industry to compete with regional players like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which already have duty-free access to the EU.

Sarwar said that Pakistan’s textile and clothing exports to the EU constitute more than half of the country’s total exports to the European Union. “There is a potential to double this in a few years,” he said. Sarwar added that approximately 40% jobs are connected with the manufacturing sector and textile-related industries, which would also witness a healthy growth in the days to come.

The Governor believes the status would boost the country’s exports, help revive the economy by creating new jobs besides spending on education, health and social services.

According to Sarwar, the government of Pakistan is fully committed to further developing the Pak-EU relations into meaningful and mutually beneficial trade propositions. “Pakistan’s inclusion in the GSP Plus status would also help re-balance South Asian market share in the EU besides having a positive impact on the local industry in EU, which rely on Pakistani products.”

The governor suggested that the textile policy should be revised for gaining optimal benefits from GSP Plus besides monitoring cell and a joint team of experts from ministries of foreign affairs and commerce.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2014.

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Dec 132013
Gsp plus: Foreign investment will increase, says FCCI


Government’s efforts for the unprecedented success in getting the 

GSP Plus Status to Pakistan was eminently appreciated by Faisalabad industrialists.

Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) President Engineer Suhail Bin Rashid said that this was a landmark achievement for the government and business community as it will enable duty free access to nearly 6,272 items of the country in more than 27 EU countries.

“Besides enhancing exports by about $1 billion per annum and generating employment opportunities for 100,000 people, it will generate higher direct and indirect economic activities in the country,” said Rashid, adding that this will pave the way for much required Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2013.

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Dec 132013
EU grants GSP Plus status to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The European Union (EU) on Thursday granted Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan with an impressive count of 406 votes, granting Pakistani products a duty free access to the European market. According to media reports, 406 members of the European Parliament expressed their support for Pakistan while 186 lawmakers voted against […]

Dec 122013
Pakistan succeeds to get GSP plus status from European Parliament

Pakistani finally succeeded to get the GSP plus status from European Parliament which allowing duty free access to Pakistani products to EU market. The EU Parliament took the decision with 406 votes and the facility would be available to Pakistan from first of January next year while this status has been granted till 2017. Now Pakistan can export its items to 27 countries without have to pay … Click for detailed story

Dec 032013
CM reiterates Pakistan wants trade, not aid with EU countries

LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that holding of a seminar by the European Union countries regarding new trade and investment opportunities in Punjab is a welcome step and would open up new avenues of trade and investment between Pakistan and European countries. He thanked European Union countries for their support for granting GSP Plus status to Pakistan and said that … Click for detailed story

Oct 252013
Exporters pinning hopes on GSP Plus

FAISALABAD: Textile exporters are pinning their hopes on a significant increase in exports after winning duty-free access to European Union (EU) markets.

Industry players say they have the potential to double their existing 1.5% share in global textile trade by reaping benefits of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status.

In a statement issued here on Friday, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and Vice Chairman Adil Tahir said the textile industry expected to get duty-free access to EU markets in January next year and was planning to boost exports by at least 100% in the next four years through value addition.

“Pakistan exports $2.7 billion worth of yarn and $2.5 billion worth of plain and dyed fabric annually to Bangladesh and other countries, which take benefit of our raw material by adding value and export finished products to the EU,” they said.

Pakistan’s textile exports stood at $13.06 billion in the previous fiscal year and had been on the rise for the last five years despite crippling energy shortages.

In the next four years, the textile industry would utilise its entire capacity to achieve the export target of $26 billion as the country was expected to win GSP Plus status in January, they added.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2013.

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May 032013
Free, transparent elections top priority: Interior Minister

Care taker Interior Minister Malik Habib has said that holding free and transparent elections in the country is our top most priority. He expressed these views while talking to a EU observer delegation led by Michael Gahler here on Friday at the Interior Ministry. The Interior Minister assuring the observer of full security said that all resources would be utilised to ensure safe and transparent … Click for detailed story

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