UK’s decision

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In recognition of the effective measures taken by Pakistan against money laundering and terror financing, the United Kingdom officially removed the country from its list of “High Risk Third Countries” on Monday- something which will help promote economic relations between the two countries.

It was in April last year, the UK government had added Pakistan to the list of undesirable 21 high-risk countries with unsatisfactory money laundering and terrorist financing controls.

This list of 21 countries mirrored the list of 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.

We believe the UK’s decision was imminent given the fact that the FATF removed Pakistan from the grey list last month as the country had implemented all the points of the action plan given to it by the watchdog.

Under the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations, any business relationship with a person established in a high risk third country is subject to enhance due diligence.

This was therefore serving as an irritant to the contacts and linkages between the business communities of two countries.

Hence, the recent development will surely encourage the entrepreneurs of both sides to engage more deeply and exploit new vistas of cooperation.

In our view, the scope of cooperation between the two countries is immense given the cordial relations they enjoy which have been reinforced by regular high-level interactions and strong people-to-people contacts. The UK is Pakistan’s largest European trading, investment and development partner.

Even after its withdrawal from the EU, the UK continues to provide Pakistan’s exports access to its market at zero tariff under the Enhanced Trade Framework.

There is a strong presence of Pakistani Diaspora in the UK while Pakistani students also prefer going to the country for higher studies.

In this whole backdrop, there is a dire need to transform this bilateral relationship into a strong economic partnership by promoting business-to-business linkages.

The Pakistani community in the UK should be forthcoming and play a constructive role in making the headway in this regard.

 

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