The European Union (EU) authorities have removed Pakistan from the list of ‘High-Risk Third Countries’ that had strategic deficiencies in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and posed a serious threat to their financial system. “According to the Delegated Regulation, following the measures implemented to address the action plans agreed with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Nicaragua, Pakistan and Zimbabwe have remedied the strategic deficiencies in their respective AML/CFT regimes and no longer pose a significant AML/CFT threat to the international financial system,” the Commerce Ministry said in a news statement here on Wednesday. Taking into account their relevance under the revised methodology, the commission considered that these jurisdictions no longer had strategic deficiencies in their respective AML/CFT frameworks and did not pose a significant threat to the financial system of the European Union. As a result of the measures, the “Obligated Entities” in EU member states would no longer be required to apply “Enhanced Customer Due Diligence” while dealing with individuals and legal entities established in Pakistan. Elaborating the “Obligated Entities” which included credit and financial institutions, the statement described auditors, external accountants and tax advisors; notaries and other independent legal professionals as ‘natural or legal persons’ involved in professional activities. It explained the professional activities like “buying and selling of real property or business entities; managing of client money, securities or other assets; opening or management of bank, savings or securities accounts; organization of contributions necessary for the creation, operation or management of companies; creation, operation or management of trusts, companies, foundations, or similar structures; trust or company service providers not already covered and estate agents.” It also validated other persons trading in goods to the extent that payments made or received in cash in an amount of EUR 10,000 or more, whether the transaction is carried out in a single operation or in several operations which appear to be linked. The placement of Pakistan in the list had created an undue regulatory burden on “Obligated Entities” in the EU and there were instances whereby some of them had refused to entertain legal and financial transactions with individuals and entities based in Pakistan. “The new development would add to the comfort level of the European economic operators and is likely to ease the cost and time of legal and financial transactions by Pakistani entities and individuals in the EU,” the ministry expressed confidence. Meanwhile, Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar termed the removal of Pakistan from the the EU’s High Risk Third Countries, after getting out of the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as one of the ‘biggest’ achievements of Pakistan. He gave its all credit to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for making tireless efforts to achieve the goal, which yielded the required results. The minister said all the shortcomings, which posed any threat to the international financial system of the country, had been removed by taking corrective measures. He said the condition had put an undue burden on the national economy as the EU had included Pakistan in the list of High Risk Third Countries’ on October 22, 2018. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif hailed the removal of Pakistan from the European Union’s list of “High-Risk Third Countries”, saying it would facilitate the country’s businesses, individuals and entities. “De-listing of Pakistan from EU’s updated list of high-risk third-countries is a major development which would facilitate our businesses, individuals and entities,” he said in a tweet. The prime minister said it was a reflection of the government’s unwavering resolve to further strengthen anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing regime.