EU removes Pakistan from ‘list of High-Risk Third Countries’

The European Union (EU) on Wednesday removed Pakistan from its list of ‘High-Risk Third Countries’ for anti-money laundering and terrorist financing purposes, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The EU Commission is mandated to identify high-risk third countries having strategic deficiencies in their regime on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

Pakistan was included on the list in 2018, placing the country under additional regulatory restrictions.

Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar in a statement revealed that EU authorities have removed Pakistan from the list.

“Pakistani businesses and individuals would no longer be subjected to ‘Enhanced Customer Due Diligence’ by European legal and economic operators,” he added.

The news was also confirmed by Senator Sherry Rehman in a tweet who credited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto with the achievement.

“Trade will now face fewer obstacles for Pakistani exporters, thanks to the efforts of FM Bilawal,” she said.

Last year in October Pakistan was taken off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) global money laundering watchlist followed by the United Kingdom’s decision to follow suit in November.

The developments come as a much-needed breather when Pakistan faces the worst economic crisis in decades.

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had previously stressed that “Pakistan desperately needs to take measures to bring the country’s economy out of crisis through sustainable export-led economic growth”.

The economy continues to remain under pressure as still incomplete talks for the ninth review between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the revival of the loan programme — which began on January 31 and had to be finished on February 9 — are yet to conclude.

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