LAHORE: Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara has stressed the need for more value-addition and product diversity to exploit the full potential of market access to the EU countries under GSP Plus regime for Pakistan, as country’s exports to the EU have increased by 62% after the grant of this status in 2014. In a meeting, hosted in honour of the Ambassador by the All Pakistan Business Forum, she said that the EU can assist Pakistan to expand its exports and uplift its industry through collaboration with the APBF by launching joint ventures in various sectors. The meeting was attended by APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood, secretary general Khurram Niaz Khan and other Board Members including Amir Ata Barry, Yaqoob Saifi, Amir Munir Malik, Nadeem Sheikh, Saman Yazdani, Safdar Hussain, M. Faisal, Manzoor Malik, Uzma Manzar and Advocate Ashfaq Ahmad. The envoy, on this occasion, briefed the APBF about her focus and priorities while appreciating the talent and potential of Pakistani nation. She said Pakistani businessmen should reach out to the outside world to show the potential of their products that would help in attracting more investment and promoting trade. She said both Pakistan and the EU countries should focus on diversification to improve trade and identify other potential areas of mutual cooperation. The Ambassador appreciated the role of APBF in boosting trade activities in the region and added that her embassy would be in touch with the Forum to increase the bilateral ties. The Idea of holding a conference and seminar in collaboration with the APBF on Ease of doing business and climate change was also discussed. The EU Ambassador appreciated the APBF dedicated efforts for the uplift of Pakistan economy, saying it’s a beautiful country and has a great potential. She said that Pakistan can make more progress by putting in best efforts for Skill Workforce development and EU can also take some positive step to support it. APBF president Syed Maaz Mahmood, on this occasion, said that the countries of the European Union have been the most important trading partner of Pakistan, accounting for almost 33% Pakistan’s total exports, which is encouraging, as the trade figures with the EU countries have been going upward. He said that Pakistan’s exports to European Union registered a positive growth and improvement, increasing from $ 7 billion to $ 8 billion during last fiscal year. Pakistan’s exports to EU were dominated by textiles products, accounting for more than 75 percent of Pakistan’s total exports to the EU. He stressed the need for greater diversity in exports of products to EU, including carpets, leather, furniture, plastics, sports goods and agri produtcs. He said that Special Economic Zones are being established and Pakistan has sufficiently improved the required infrastructure in this regard. He said that the country has been availing tariff concession under GSP-Plus status, as it has signed and implementing 27 International Conventions pertaining to human rights, labour rights, environment and good governance. “We have taken a number of initiatives to ensure compliance to these 27 ILO conventions by enacting new laws, taking corrective measures both at planning and implementation stages to combat environmental issues too. The relevant labour laws are being enforced by the Labour & Human Resource Dept and the EU Parliament has also expressed satisfaction on this progress,” he added.