Government mulls GPS+ progress

-Newly appointed EU Ambassador meets PM, Finance Minster
-PM emphasizes sustained high-level Pakistan-EU exchanges for stronger partnership

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Dr Riina Kionka and Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Miftah Ismail here on Thursday discussed matters of mutual interest and cooperation including progress on Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus.
The discussion was made during a call on meeting of the ambassador with Miftah Ismail, according to press statement issued by finance ministry. Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha, Special Secretary Finance and senior officers also attended the meeting.
The finance minister highlighted bilateral relations and development cooperation between the EU and Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan highly values its bilateral ties with the EU including trade and economic relations. He stressed the need to further strengthening trade relations between Pakistan and the European Union.
The Finance Minister also apprised the EU ambassador on recent economic developments and policies of the present government.
Miftah said enhancing revenue collection, boosting exports, increasing remittances and making the energy sector sustainable were the foremost priorities of the present government. He thanked the EU Ambassador for her cooperation and assured her all out support from Finance Ministry.
The Ambassador on the occasion highlighted the mutual relations between Pakistan and the EU in diversified fields and appreciated present government’s ongoing economic reform agenda.
The Ambassador also supported Pakistan’s efforts towards making progress for GSP Plus and extended her cooperation.
Besides, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the sustained high-level exchanges between Pakistan and the European Union was vital to further strengthen the growing partnership. The Prime Minister, in a meeting with the newly appointed Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Dr. Riina Kionka who called on him here, said that Pakistan attached high importance to its relations with the EU as well as its historically close and cooperative bilateral ties with EU member states.
Recalling his recent telephone conversations with the EU Council President Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the prime minister expressed confidence that the upcoming visits to Pakistan by the EU Parliamentary delegations as well as the next rounds of political and security dialogues under EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan would pave the way for more substantive cooperation between the two sides.
He credited the current GSP Plus scheme with enhancing the mutually beneficial trading ties between Pakistan and EU and hoped that Pakistan would continue to be part of the arrangement beyond 2023.
Noting the 60th anniversary of Pakistan-EU relations this year, the prime minister stressed that this milestone should be commemorated by both sides in a fitting manner.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. He also highlighted the unprecedented level of cooperation that Pakistan had extended to the international community in regard to Afghanistan, especially since the developments of August last year.
Dr. Riina Kionka thanked the prime minister for receiving her and expressed her resolve to work for further deepening of EU-Pakistan relations during her tenure in Islamabad.