Pakistan moves to address neighbours’ concerns over EU trade concessions | Pakistan Today

Pakistan moves to address neighbours’ concerns over EU trade concessions

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has written letters to India and other countries addressing their concerns over a 900 million Euro unilateral trade concessions announced by the European Union in October last year after the devastating floods, which would again come under discussion at the Council for Trade in Goods of the World Trade Organisation in Geneva on March 21.
Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood told a meeting of the Senate body on commerce that the letter written by Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim to his counterparts addressed their concerns and sought support for the passage of concessions at the upcoming meeting of the WTO council. In October, the EU had approached the WTO to seek waiver on trade concessions to Pakistan on 75 products amounting to 900 million euros for a two-year period in order to help the country recover from flood damages.
The strong resistance put up by India and other countries at the WTO council meeting resulted in a delay on the proposal’s implementation from January 1 to April 1, 2011. EU had brought to the notice of WTO that the selected products were included after paying great attention to limit the potential negative impact on other members and passing maximum positive impact on flood-hit Pakistan.
However, under EU offer, $1 billion worth of home-textile exports to EU were excluded from the concessions, while mostly duty-free import of textile raw material was allowed. Previously too, Pakistan had used diplomatic channels to counter the concerns of the other member states at WTO, but opposition from the South Asian neighbours halted the passage from WTO.
EU had also used diplomatic efforts to address the concerns of the other countries for early implementation of the concessions. The waiver was blocked by four WTO-member countries; India Vietnam, Bangladesh and Peru in the last meeting of the council, which was mandatory for the implementation of the EU preferences offer to Pakistan.
China neither supported nor opposed the waiver to Pakistan. According to an official source India, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Peru expressed systemic concerns over the EU request for waiver in terms of possible implications to the multilateral trading system. India said the EU initiative would affect textile workers in other developing countries.
Peru said the waiver request would affect its exports of textiles, clothing and footwear to the EU. Even Bangladesh opposed the EU concessionary benefits to Pakistan, saying it would affect its exports to EU countries.

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