KARACHI: As part of its efforts to support Pakistani SMEs to access opportunities in the European Single Market and maximize the benefit from GSP+, the European Union held the EU-Pakistan Business Forum for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Karachi.
The EU-Pakistan Business Forum aims to provide opportunities for both EU and Pakistani businesses to work together to become engines of development and partnership and contribute to enhancing bilateral trade.
Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara, welcomed the participation of Government representatives, including Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood.
The Ambassadors from Sweden and Denmark, as well as EU Trade Counsellors from other EU Member States, participated in the event alongside local SMEs from four sectors – Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), the chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the value added textiles and leather and gems, stones, onyx and jewellery designing.
Speakers focused on the importance of SMEs, their role in value addition and importance to Pakistan’s sustained economic growth. Participants were informed about how SMEs could benefit from the European Union’s GSP+ Scheme, providing two thirds of tariff lines duty free access to the EU market with the rest on preferential duties.
The Pakistani economy consists of almost 3.3 million SMEs.
These consist of service providers, manufacturing units and start-ups. SMEs make up over 30% of Pakistan’s GDP, account for approximately 25% of export generation and provide over 70% industrial employment.
While in the EU, Europe’s 25 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the EU economy.
SMEs provide two out of three industrial jobs in the EU.
The Business Forum aims to play a key role in bringing together SME’s from EU and Pakistan to enhance their export orientation, collaboration in technology transfer and promotion of businesses.
The EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara said, “Over the series of three events, we have managed to bring together SMEs working in diverse sectors from across Pakistan. This diverse range of products, which are covered under GSP+, represent a huge opportunity for Pakistani SMEs to allow them to fully benefit from GSP+ boost trade and strengthen bilateral trade for a prosperous Pakistan. Through this forum, we are trying to help create linkages between EU and Pakistani SMEs to understand their challenges and help overcome them – with a particular focus on technology transfer. The government’s new SME development policy shows the commitment to help small businesses grow and contribute positively to Pakistan’s economy. With the strong involvement of the business community today and continued engagement with the Government, through the EU-Pakistan Business Forum we hope to develop initiatives, build capacity and provide technical assistance to support the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) development process in Pakistan. I remain confident that together we can expand the benefit of GSP+ boost trade and ultimately allow Pakistan to take full advantage of GSP+”.