EU still pushing trade boons for flood-hit Pakistan

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2011 3:55 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is still pushing for approval from trading nations to grant trade preferences to Pakistan in the wake of devastating floods last summer, the bloc's top trade official said on Tuesday.

EU plans to grant additional aid to Pakistan by suspending import tariffs on Pakistani goods from clothing and cotton to ethanol have been frustrated by opposition from India and other members of the World Trade Organization.

"We are very actively working on that to get a solution. Not all hope is vanishing," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told EU lawmakers.

"At short notice (trade concessions are) the only way to do something for Pakistan," he said.

An original EU plan unveiled in October said duty suspensions -- if approved unanimously by the WTO's 153 members -- would affect about 900 million euros worth of Pakistani exports to the EU and estimated Pakistan could boost sales to the EU by 100 million euros.

(Reporting by Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck; Editing by Tim Pearce)