De­layed con­ces­sions stun ex­porters

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial -

The Euro­pean Union has de­layed duty-free con­ces­sions for 67 prod­ucts from Pak­istan till March 2011 due to strong op­po­si­tion from In­dia at the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WTO) in Geneva. These con­ces­sions were ex­pected to be ef­fec­tive from Jan­uary 2011. The EU sought waiver from WTO on trade pref­er­ences to Pak­istan on 67 prod­ucts amount­ing to al­most 900 mil­lion eu­ros in im­port value to help the coun­try re­cover from floods losses. The waiver was blocked by four WTO-mem­ber states; Viet­nam, Bangladesh and Peru led by In­dia in the first meet­ing of the Coun­cil for Trade in Goods, which was manda­tory for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the EU pref­er­ences of­fer to Pak­istan. China nei­ther sup­ported nor op­posed the waiver to Pak­istan. Ob­vi­ously In­dia won't let it go eas­ily and so did they do, but EU duty to pushed hard as well. In fact early ap­proval of the law is very im­por­tant to in­crease Pak­istan ex­ports to EU mar­kets. In­dia, Viet­nam, Bangladesh and Peru expressed sys­temic con­cerns with the EU request for waiver in terms of pos­si­ble im­pli­ca­tions to the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem and to like ex­ports of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. They called for con­sul­ta­tions on the EU request. As a re­sult, it is agreed at the meet­ing that con­sul­ta­tions would be started on EU request mean­ing that it would be hard to get the waiver ap­proval eas­ily from the WTO mem­bers. Un­der EU of­fer, $1 bil­lion worth of home-tex­tile ex­ports to EU were ex­cluded from con­ces­sion from Pak­istan while mostly duty free im­port of tex­tile raw ma­te­rial was al­lowed. Lo­cal value-added sec­tor strongly op­posed EU of­fer, say­ing it would only en­cour­age ex­port of raw ma­te­rial from the coun­try re­sult­ing in high in­put cost for lo­cal in­dus­try. Euro­pean Union is well aware about the con­di­tions of Pak­istan that there is dire need of help from its friends. "If they want to sta­bi­lize Pak­istan, they have to ad­dress eco­nomic is­sues." Help from the biggest trade block of the world could do mir­a­cle for Pak­istan. If the global play­ers de­cide to help Pak­istan, the sit­u­a­tion could be back to nor­mal faster than the ex­pec­ta­tions.

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