PESHAWAR: Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Mohsin Aziz has said that objections raised by Bangladesh on GSP plus status given toPakistan by the European Union (EU) are unfounded as Pakistan would never be a threat to Bangladesh apparel industry in that market.
Bangladesh has objected the entry of eight items of clothing sector of Pakistan to the EU market in a recent meeting held this week in the European Commission.
Chairman APTMA termed the move unfair and said that Pakistan has never objected Bangladesh and instead let it grow in the EU market. As a result, Bangladesh exports to the EU have reached to $16 billion today in clothing sector from merely $2 billion a few years back, he said.
Pakistan, on the contrary, has reached to a mere $1.5 billion in a market of $80 billion, he added.
Chairman APTMA said Bangladesh has already developed strong inroads to EU due to its Least Developed Country (LDC) status and therefore enjoying a favourable environment and market access.
He said entry of clothing products of Pakistan to the EU would not yield any significant new investment in the country as this status, if allowed, would be for initial period of just two years and it would only activate the idle and unutilized capacities until 2014. Therefore there is no threat to Bangladesh market, he added.
Mohsin Aziz said Bangladesh clothing sector has already grown, having a huge share of $16 billion in the EU market, and it has growing constantly with a comparatively low cost of doing business against Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan qualifies for market access to the EU on the humanitarian grounds similar to that of Bangladesh after being hit by natural calamities including flood earthquake etc. besides bearing the brunt of war on terrorism. Therefore, he said, Pakistan needs special favour and a brotherly country like Bangladesh should not oppose it.
Chairman APTMA urged the federal government and the ministry of commerce to take up the issue at ministerial as well as foreign level in the larger interest of the country's exports. He said the issue is more important than the MFN status to India and demands immediate attention of the government and policymakers.
He expressed the hope that the government would take Bangladesh government into confidence and ensure that both the brotherly countries compliment each other rather than competing with each other.