EU gives trade preferences to Pakistan


Brussels : The European Union Thursday adopted a proposal for suspension of import duties on a number of export items from Pakistan to help the country recover from the unprecedented devastation from flooding earlier this year.

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The proposed preferences would liberalise for three years 75 tariff lines on imports from Pakistan accounting for 27 percent of Pakistan’s current imports to the EU. This would yield an increase in EU imports from Pakistan of about 100 million euro, according to EuAsiaNews.

A large number of the products for liberalisation include textiles but there are also other industrial products such as ethanol.

The European Commission in a statement said it has taken into account both industrial sensitivities in the EU and those of partners in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told reporters that he is very pleased that there is full support for this proposal which is designed to maximise the benefits for the people of Pakistan after the devastating flood.

“This proposal will offer a real boost to Pakistan’s economic recovery while at the same time take into account sensitivities of EU industries,” he said.

The European Commission said it will present its proposal to EU member states and European Parliament in the coming days. The EU would then submit a request for a WTO waiver allowing for the suspension of duties on important imports from Pakistan.

A list of 75 dutiable products lines of importance for Pakistan’s exports has been established. The selected product lines amount to almost 900 million euro in import value, accounting for about 27 percent of EU imports from Pakistan (3.3 billion euro).

The EU is Pakistan’s major trade partner worth 7.6 billion euro annually.

In another development, EU home and justice ministers adopted in their meeting in Luxembourg Thursday an agreement between the EU and Pakistan on the re-admission of illegal immigrants.

The main objective of this agreement is to establish, on the basis of reciprocity, rapid and effective procedures for the identification and safe and orderly return of illegal immigrants.

The agreement is expected to enter into force Dec 1, 2010. It will apply only to those who have entered into the territories of Pakistan and of the EU member states after that date.