India takes up EU’s tariff waiver to PakistanBy Sarwar Kashani, IANS
Friday, December 10, 2010
BRUSSELS - India is in talks with the European Union over trade and tariff concessions the 27-nation bloc has offered to flood-hit Pakistan because more consultations were required before the waiver is implemented, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday.
He told reporters here after the 11th India-EU summit that the matter is being discussed even as New Delhi recognizes the need for reconstruction of those parts of Pakistan which were devastated by floods earlier this year.
“EU officials are in touch with Indian agencies and we are confident of resolving the matter. We support all initiatives to provide succour to the (flood) victims in Pakistan. We have offered them support and we are willing to do that further,” Manmohan Singh said in reply to a question on the issue.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, at the joint press conference with the prime minister, said the EU was looking into India’s concerns.
“We are aware of the fact that India may have some concerns and we are trying to address them,” Rompuy said.
The EU has offered Pakistan a package of trade concessions set to enter into force on Jan 1, 2011.
India has raised numerous concerns at a WTO’s goods council meeting in November regarding the “collateral” impact on exports in the tariff lines covered by the waiver from other least developed and developing countries.
India, according to sources, pointed out that the measures may not benefit the areas of Pakistan actually hit by the floods, but rather other areas of the country where most of the textiles industry is located.
India has also requested additional consultations in the wake of concerns over the impact on its own export sectors and systematic implications for the multilateral trade system, even as it considers EU’s proposal “a noble gesture”.