All exports of leather and leather manufactured goods from Pakistan or other countries to the European Union after 2005 will come under strict scrutiny as to whether or not they are produced under environmentally friendly conditions.

This was stated by Suleman Ghani, Economic Minister in the Pakistan Embassy, Brussels, during a seminar on Exports to the European Union, held in Karachi under the auspices of the Export Promotion Bureau.

He pointed out that after 15 more small countries such as Estonia, Cyprus, Bulgaria etc, have joined, the European market will be an even bigger economic free market.

Poland will be the biggest and most resourceful new entry. He said that this market will be open for quality and competitive goods. Suleman Ghani also said that considerable expansion in the market can be expected for Pakistan.

He was of the opinion that there is about 3.5% customs duty on the imports of leather garments. He said that in September 2002 the EC agreed that Pakistan meets the development criteria for items such as leather, raw hides and skins, under sector XVII, and articles of leather and fur skins under sector of XVIII.

The EC is concerned about safety and may send some of its inspectors to observe the safety measures adopted by the various industries in Pakistan and other countries. EC inspectors will also observe how far the economy in Pakistan has benefited from the various economic concessions given to it.

Strict quality control will be the sole criteria for imports of goods into the EC from Pakistan. He said that after China’s entry into the WTO, there would be tough competition. Pakistan and other countries who want to trade with the EU must have developed technologies.