EU Commission removes Pakistan from ‘list’ of high-risk countries

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: After exiting the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan has achieved another major milestone under Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s leadership as European Union (EU) has removed Pakistan from the list of High Risk Third Countries.

The European Commission has removed Pakistan from the List of High Risk Third Countries, which have strategic deficiencies in their Anti Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/ CFT) regime. The exports from Pakistan will not be any more liable to additional conditions set by legal and economic operators.

Federal Minister for Trade Syed Naveed Qamar said that the exemption is a breeze of ease for Pakistani exporters. The minister confirmed that EU has exempted Pakistan from high-risk third counties list. Pakistan was included in this list back in 2018, the restriction has been wreaking havoc on our industry, the minister added.

Naveed Qamar said that all credit goes to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for his tireless efforts to get Pakistan off this list. Naveed Qamar also confirmed the development on Wednesday stating “Pakistani businesses and individuals would no longer be subjected to ‘Enhanced Customer Due Diligence’ by European legal and economic operators.” The minister further said that the EU had included Pakistan in the list of high-risk countries back in 2018. “This ban had put an unnecessary burden on our economy.”

It is worth mentioning here that UK removed Pakistan from the list of High Risk Third Countries back in November 2022. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had announced the development on Twitter. The United Kingdom (UK) had already officially removed Pakistan from its list of “High-Risk Third Countries” in recognition of the effective measures taken by the country against money laundering and terror financing.

“Some good news. The United Kingdom has officially removed Pakistan from its list of ‘High-Risk Third Countries’ following our early completion of FATF action plans,” Bilawal wrote, sharing a letter from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. “His Majesty’s Treasury issued an amendment to the UK’s High-Risk Third Countries’ list ON November 14, 2022, through a Statuary Instrument.

The amendment removes Pakistan from the list in accordance with the decision taken by the FATF on October 21, 2022,” the official document read. “The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office recognizes the progress Pakistan has made to improve money laundering and terrorist financing controls,” it further added.

Pakistan was added to the list of undesirable 21 high-risk countries with unsatisfactory money laundering and terrorist financing controls in April last year. This list of 21 countries — released by the UK Government — included countries named by the FATF as high-risk or under increased monitoring. Pakistan shared the list at number 15 with conflict-ridden countries such as Syria, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. However, last month (October) the FATF, a global money-laundering and terrorism-financing watchdog, finally removed Pakistan from its grey list after four years. (INP)