EU should give more concessions for greater market access – Mahfooz Elahi

  • October 20, 2010
Pakistan’s focus, while asking for concessions, was primarily on higher value added products, while concessions offered by EU cover largely low value items and the export oriented categories of home textiles and knitted garments have not been included said Mr.Mahfooz Elahi, President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry addressing a meeting of Trade and Commerce.

21 tariff lines of clothing were included with a focus on low value products and in a ranking matrix prepared by the textile industry for exports to EU, only 06 tariff lines were included in the concessions, he said.

President stated that cotton price is already soaring in the international market and exporters already fear a substantial increase in cost of manufacturing. He said with the inclusion of yarn and fabric in the concessions list, the domestic textile higher value added inputs supply chain will be adversely affected.

He said that already the export of yarn and grey cloth is in high volume with lower duties between 3.2% and 6.4% as compared to finished products with duties around 9.6% in the EU market. Their duty free access will create a disruption of local supply chain, hence affecting prices, as well as create a shortage in the domestic market, he added.

Mr.Mahfooz Elahi said that present concessions also include tariff lines of mushrooms and ethanol, both being currently produced in the country and also being exported to EU. He said that it is an opportunity for Pakistan to increase its trade share in these items and develop markets abroad for the rare varieties of mushrooms grown in the country.

He emphasized that surgical instruments, cutlery, fish & fish products, light engineering products especially fans, marble & granite, gems & jewellery, seafood, vegetables & fruits should be added in the concession list.

President ICCI said that in the short term, these concessions and GSP+, if granted, may be beneficial but long term solution lies in a free trade agreement. Most of Pakistan’s competitors like Turkey, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia etc. are already enjoying preferential treatment in the EU and Pakistan should also be given the similar treatment and concession for greater market access.