WTO temporarily lifts duties on 75 Pakistan products for two-year tariff waiver

Karachi: World Trade Organization WTO has approved a request from the European Union EU temporarily lift duties on 75 products from Pakistan the majority of which are textiles, apparel, and footwear. The two-year tariff waiver is intended to help the country recover from massive floods in 2010, and follows initial requests from EU in November 2010.

The measures will be in effect from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2013, and will apply to products including cotton yarn and fabrics, jackets, T-shirts, anoraks, trousers, shorts, nightwear and underwear. Council for Trade in Goods, described the waiver as “an exceptional measure being taken in the light of exceptional circumstances.” It stressed the move “would not be a precedent in the WTO.” EU waiver request now passes to WTO General Council for adoption.

Under new rules, customs duties will be exempted on certain products originating in Pakistan which are imported into the EU. In addition, a tariff preference is given for certain textiles, clothing, leather, footwear products. Selected 75 product lines on which waivers apply amount to almost EUR900m US$1.18bn in import value, accounting for about 27% of EU imports from Pakistan. EU is Pakistan’s largest trading partner, receiving almost 30% of its exports. Textiles account for over 70% of total Pakistani shipments to EU, followed by leather products at 13%.

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