GENEVA — The World Trade Organization approved a request Wednesday from the European Union for a two-year tariff waiver for 75 Pakistani goods, 80 percent of which are textiles and apparel, to help the country recover from damaging floods in 2010.
The temporary lifting of duties on the 75 product lines would result in an estimated increase in Pakistan’s exports to the EU of 100 million euro, or $131 million at current exchange, a year, compared to 2009, EU trade officials said.
A total of 55 Pakistani products stand to benefit from zero duties, including 33 textile and 20 apparel lines such as single cotton yarn or combed fibers containing at least 85 percent cotton, woven cotton fabrics, women’s or girls’ cotton shorts and ensembles and men’s or boy’s cotton jackets or blazers. The EU list also stipulates 20 products that would be subject to annual duty-free tariff quotas, including women’s or girls’ denim trousers, legwear, nightdresses and pajamas, as well as men’s or boys’ trousers, and single cotton yarn.
This extension of this duty-free quota list, to accommodate concerns by exporters such as India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Peru and Argentina helped secure authorization of the request, which was first submitted to the WTO in late 2010. The package will help give producers “a bigger window” to export textiles and apparel products in the EU market, Shahid Bashir, Pakistan’s WTO ambassador, told WWD.
“Our exports will be more competitive with zero duties,” Bashir said.
Overall, the WTO authorized list is estimated to be worth about 900 million euros, or $1.1 billion, in import value, or about 27 percent of Pakistan’s exports to the EU, officials said.
During a session of the WTO’s Goods Council, which authorized the request, Angelo Pangratis, EU ambassador to the WTO, told delegates the package is an exceptional measure and would have a limited duration of two years through Dec. 31, 2013, officials said.