PHC London celebrates GSP Plus status

London: Pakistan High Commission London hosted a dinner reception to thank all those who consistently supported Pakistan to achieve GSP Plus status. The dinner was attended by MEP Sajjad Karim, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, MP Andrew Stephenson and business community from across the British society. In his welcome address Pakistan High Commissioner for UK Mr Wajid Shamsul Hasan termed the grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan a timely and much needed development. He said that Pakistan economy had suffered tremendously due to terrorism and unprecedented natural disasters which had inflicted nearly $100billion losses to the Pakistan economy. Under these circumstances the award of GSP Plus status to Pakistan would greatly help economic turnaround and create jobs for Pakistani youth, he added. He informed the audience that the Pakistan High Commission London had successfully lobbied with the UK first for market access while pursuing GSP Plus status with the decision makers. The High Commissioner paid fulsome tribute to the friendly countries and individuals who supported Pakistan’s case for access to the European markets. He particularly thanked the British Government and political parties for their consistent support to Pakistan which served as a catalyst in the European Parliament’s decision in favour of Pakistan in 2013. He expressed his special thanks to MEP Sajjad Karim, leader of Pakistan Group in EU who lobbied hard for Pakistan. The High Commissioner acknowledged the support and efforts of Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Baroness Ashton, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Governor Punjab Muhammad Sarwar. He also commended the good work done by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir, former Commerce Secretary Mr Zafar Mahmood, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani and current Commerce Secretary Qasim Niaz. “Credit must be given to Prime Minister Mr Nawaz Sharif for giving added vigour to our efforts, for his government’s determination, investment and business friendly policies, generating confidence in Pakistan’s accelerated economic growth, good governance, and social development. His focus on enhancing cooperation in areas of trade and investment with the trading partners is also reassuring”, said the High Commissioner. MEP Sajjad Karim, while speaking on the occasion said that award of GSP Plus status to Pakistan was the result of continuous lobbying by the successive British governments and Pakistan’s friends in the European Parliament. He also appreciated the role of Pakistan’s Mission in Brussels. Mr Karim commended the vigorous efforts put in by the present government to enhance trade with the EU countries. He urged the current government of Pakistan for giving enhanced role to the overseas Pakistanis so that they could serve the country in better way. Mr Karim hoped for much stronger relationship between EU and Pakistan in future. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Minister of State for Faith and Communities and Senior Minister of State in her address, said that Pakistan-UK relations were based on equality and mutual respect. She assured that the UK was keen to enhance trade with Pakistan instead of aid. Andrew Stephenson, Conservative MP from Pendle and Chairperson of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan said in his address that grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan would help meet the ambitious target of doubling the trade between the two countries by 2015 and would generate employment opportunities in Pakistan. He assured that he would continue working for greater trading relationship between the UK and Pakistan. Commercial Counsellor Ijlal Khattak moderated the event. Deputy High Commissioner Mohammad Imran Mirza and officers of the High Commission also attended the event.