The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Riina Kionka has said EU-Pakistan relations have a strategic engagement which covers all the areas including counter terrorism, trade, climate change, GSP Plus status and various others. GSP Plus status holds significant importance for Pakistan’s economy as it has played vital role in expansion of multilateral trade. She was speaking at a meeting at the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), Faisalabad on Thursday. She said the GSP Plus scheme is going to end next year and a mission is preparing final report of the last 10-year which will be discussed in Brussels and EU Parliament. These two bodies will decide about the continuation of the scheme. Pakistan will have to re-apply for the GSP plus Status and the decision will be taken by the EU Parliament in 4 to 5 months. During this period of application, Pakistan will be enjoying all facilities under GSP Plus status, she added. She informed that the continuity of GSP Plus is subjected to ratification of more 5 to 6 new conventions related to environment and social standards including the remaining 27. She said existing GSP plus scheme is confined to textile sector which should be spread to the other sectors as well. Talking about the recent floods, she said that it is a difficult time for Pakistan as floods played havoc. EU member countries have extended assistance in this regard and distributed aid in several flood-affected areas. Pakistan needs to develop infrastructure to curtail the loss if catastrophe-like situation born in future, she added. Earlier, PTEA’s Patron-in-Chief Khurram Mukhtar extended deepest gratitude to the European Union on taking extreme measures to support Pakistan’s economy and extending financial assistance. Terming GSP Plus as major turnaround, he said duty free access has not only enhanced Pakistan’s market share but exports to EU have also jumped by 86% from €3.56 billion in 2013 to €6.64 billion in 2021. Textile export sector, the major beneficiary of duty waiver facility, also gained significant momentum. Increased multilateral trade through GSP plus means job creation, better working conditions, promotion of sustainable policies and improvement of the macro-economic indicators of Pakistan. In this context, the extension of GSP plus for Pakistan holds great significance for our economy.