The Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday announced that the European Commission has removed Pakistan from its “High Risk Third Countries” list, which comprises states that the European Union considers to have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing frameworks.
In a statement, the ministry recalled that Pakistan had been added to the list in October 2018, requiring “Obligated Entities” within the E.U.to apply “Enhanced Customer Due Diligence” while conducting transactions with individuals and legal entities established in Pakistan. This, it said, had created obstacles in legal and financial transactions with individuals and entities based in Pakistan.
The entities required to apply the due diligence include credit institutions, financial institutions, auditors, external accountants, tax advisers, notaries, independent legal professionals (acting on behalf of and for their client in any financial or real estate transaction), estate agents and individuals trading in goods. According to the Commerce Ministry, Pakistan’s exclusion from the list would add to the comfort level of the E.U. and likely ease the cost and time of legal and financial transactions by Pakistani entities and individuals in the E.U.
Confirming the development, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said it would facilitate Pakistani businesses and individuals, who would no longer be subjected to enhanced customer due diligence by European legal and economic operators.
The E.U.’s decision comes after the U.K., in November last year, also removed Pakistan from its ‘high-risk third countries’ list, indicating that the country recognized Pakistan’s efforts to improve money-laundering and terror financing curbs.
The delegation of the E.U. to Pakistan termed the development an “important positive step” for the country. “In line with last year’s FATF decision, the E.U. has decided to remove Pakistan from its list of countries with high risk regarding money laundering and financing of terrorism,” it said in a posting on Twitter.