EU removes Pakistan from list of high-risk countries

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EU removes Pakistan from list of high-risk countries

Pakistan’s Islamabad – Pakistan has been removed from the European Union’s “list of high-risk third countries,” which is expected to boost business.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement announcing the news on Wednesday that Pakistan’s listing in 2018 had resulted in the creation of a regulatory burden affecting Pakistani companies doing business with the 27-member bloc.

The statement added, “The new development would increase the level of comfort of the European economic operators and is likely to ease the cost and time of legal and financial transactions by Pakistani businesses and individuals in the EU.

In a Twitter, foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari declared that European legal and corporate actors “would no longer subject [Pakistani organizations and individuals] to Enhanced Consumer Due Diligence.”

The list of high-risk third countries consists of countries that, in the opinion of the EU, lack a strong enough regulatory and legal framework to prevent financial crimes and the financing of “terrorism,” which could pose serious threats to the financial system of the union.

A country is subjected to more intense scrutiny and additional regulations that raise the cost of doing business when it is added to the list.

Credit and financial institutions, auditors, external accountants, tax advisers, notaries, and independent legal specialists are among the Pakistani companies that will no longer be subject to increased EU scrutiny.

The EU tweeted, “In line with last year’s FATF decision, the EU has decided to remove Pakistan from its list of countries with high risk regarding money laundering & financing of terrorism,” referring to the FATF’s decision to remove Pakistan from its list of countries that are subject to “increased monitoring” after four years.

Former Ministry of Finance analyst Khaqan Najeeb hailed the EU decision as evidence that Pakistan had successfully fixed the “strategic weaknesses” that the FATF listing had revealed and which may significantly limit a country’s ability to borrow abroad.

This announcement, he said to Al Jazeera, “shows that the EU has agreed that Pakistan’s legal and regulatory systems’ shortcomings have been addressed and Pakistan can now prevent financial crimes and terrorist financing.”

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