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EU Trade Deal Offers Pakistan Some Respite

KARACHI, Jan 7 2013 (IPS) - Karachi, a sprawling city of 18 million, is the country’s economic hub. It accounts for 95 percent of Pakistan’s foreign trade and contributes 30 percent of national industrial production.

But endless obstacles to trade plague industries located in this busy metropolis. With Pakistan losing anywhere between 1.3 and two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually due to the country’s various energy crises, and an ineffective law-and-order apparatus, traders say there is little excitement left in doing business here.

If power outages don’t interrupt the day’s work, then one of the many transport workers’ strikes surely will, delaying the shipment of products abroad. When the strikers get back to work, extortionists come knocking, demanding huge sums in “protection money” from factory owners.

“If foreign businessmen cannot visit Pakistan, see our products and (engage) in joint ventures, how will our industries thrive?” asked Yasin Siddiq, president of the Sindh and Balochistan chapters of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.

The many crises have pushed unemployment to roughly five percent, according to the World Bank’s most recent World Development Report.

The only bright spot on the horizon, experts say, is the potential impact of the European Union’s decision to grant Pakistan Autonomous Trade Preferences in 2013. The agreement allows duty-free market access to 75 textile items from Pakistan and is expected to boost production in this vital sector of the economy.

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  • activist09

    Foreign companies take advantage of Indians and Pakistani people.

    “The Dark Side of Healthcare” is a
    documentary about Swedish county councils’ procurement of goods from
    India and Pakistan. The documentary reveals that simple surgical
    instruments, as well as patient wear, are produced for Swedish hospitals
    in unacceptable working conditions that even lead to environmental
    The film shows that Swedish tax money is funding production that
    violates the human rights of workers in India and Pakistan.
    The film includes footage of workers involved in production, suppliers
    in Pakistan and India, as well as procurement directors and politicians
    in Sweden.