Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, Ms. Androulla Kaminara, has said that the pro-active efforts of private sector representative organizations are important in ensuring a sustainable presence in the global market as well as taking maximum advantage of the trade facilitation accorded by regional blocs or by individual countries.
The positive initiatives undertaken by the Economic Council of Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP-EC) are a step in the right direction and are commendable”.
During her visit to the EFP-EC, the EU Ambassador specifically focused on the EU GSP Plus significance and appreciated that EFP, as a constituent of ILO, is portraying the soft image of Pakistan and the endeavors of those Pakistani exporters who are seriously complying with ILO Labor Standards.
She particularly lauded the pragmatic initiatives that EFP-EC has taken regarding GSP Plus, Minerals to Chemicals, Look Africa, Electricity Markets, Tourism, and Women Empowerment. Moreover, she also responded favorably to the fact that the UN Global Compact Network Pakistan is under the umbrella of EFP.
The senior EU diplomat advised that it must be incumbent upon EFP, since it has the mandate of Human Resources also, to sensitize private sector as well as workers and government to accord serious consideration to eliminate child labor, to set up a mechanism to ensure labor inspection, and to enable workers to form unions under the Freedom of Association Convention of ILO.
It is primarily the responsibility of employers to have a positive outlook and she assured that such efforts would help Pakistan in presenting the case for grant of the next EU GSP Plus status from January 2024.
Ambassador Kaminara appreciated the fact that the Research Department of EFP-EC is an all-female department and also complimented the female researchers for preparing excellent presentations on the various initiatives of the Economic Council.
Her Excellency advised the research team to also strive by themselves to assist in up scaling the output and ideas of EFP as these can do wonders for Pakistan at international forums especially with regard to women empowerment and trade and industrial development programs.
Earlier, welcoming the EU delegation that also included Daniel Clauss and Husnain Iftakhar and also welcoming Ms. Ingrid Christensen, Country Director ILO and Saghir Bukhari, Senior Specialist ILO, Ismail Suttar, President EFP, said that EFP sincerely believes that closer collaboration with European Union is the practical move forward.
He added that Pakistan has been subjected to long years of being behind International stakeholders, and it is time EFP works side by side with European Union Delegation and thanked Ambassador Androulla Kaminara for visiting EFP-EC and for her keen interest in EFP.
Suttar informed that EU is Pakistan’s most important trading partner, accounting for 14.3% of Pakistan’s total trade in 2020 and absorbing 28% of Pakistan’s total exports.
Pakistani exports to the EU are dominated by textiles and clothing which account for 75.2% of Pakistan’s total exports to the EU in 2020.
The President listed the projects currently being pursued by the Federation. Furthermore, EFP advocates that it is important for relevant international stakeholders to have further engagement since Pakistan is now in the forefront in the international community.
The private sector must align itself with the compliances required within the international trade framework. The EU Ambassador’s interest is a stepping stone for further collaboration with EFP.
Majyd Aziz, President UN Global Compact Network Pakistan and a Former EFP President, Asif Zuberi, Chairman EFP-EC and Director EFP, Younus Dagha, Senior Advisor and Member EFP-EC, Ms Ingrid Christensen and Saghir Bukhari also dwelt in detail on the various aspects of the ILO Labor Standards, WEBCOP, GSP Plus, Electricity Market, Minerals to Chemicals, SDGs and other relevant subjects.