The European Union’s "Generalized Scheme of Preferences" (GSP) enables developing countries to pay less or no duties on their exports to the EU. This provides them with vital access to EU markets and contributes to their economic growth. The EU is currently Pakistan’s most important trade partner, accounting for 21.2 percent of Pakistan’s total exports.
GSP plus was granted to Pakistan in January 2014, allowing access to European markets and potentially increasing exports by 550 Million USD a year. In January 2016, the EU praised Pakistan for its progress toward implementing the required 27 international conventions. The recently granted GSP+ preferences will also assist Pakistan's as it focuses on diversification. More than 78% of Pakistan's exports enter the EU at preferential rates due to the GSP+. In addition, approximately 80% of the textiles and clothing articles imported to the EU from Pakistan enter the EU at a preferential tariff rate.
In 2014, the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade was nominated to spearhead the effort towards meeting GSP requirements in Punjab and across Pakistan. PBIT has been working closely with all the relevant departments of Government of the Punjab towards this end. As part of its strategy, PBIT has been focusing on spreading awareness regarding GSP+ among domestic and international stakeholders.