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Pakistan may seek duty-free textile exports to India
12
Apr '12
Pakistan is likely to ask for allowing duty-free exports of its textiles and apparel items to India, during a meeting of the Commerce Ministers of both countries that is scheduled to take place this week.

In fact, except Pakistan, all other countries of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) have been provided zero-duty access by the Indian Government for all their textile products.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. DK Nair, Secretary General, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), said, “Pakistan is the only country in SAFTA that does not enjoy duty-free access to Indian market for its textile and garments. There is a proposal by the Department of Commerce to provide zero-duty access for all textile products of Pakistan in the Indian market. The proposal is based on geo-political considerations, and not economic factors.”

Elaborating on present status of textile exports permitted by respective countries, he says, “As of now, Pakistan has a negative list of over 1200 products which India is not permitted to export to them. This includes 78 textile products. On the other hand, India has a sensitive list of 878 products for import from Pakistan, which includes 288 textile products.”

“But, the fundamental difference between the two lists is that India only avoids tariff concessions for products in the sensitive list, whereas Pakistan prohibits imports of products that are in their negative list. Pakistan has stipulated such a negative list only for India and not for any other country,” he explains.

Analyzing competitiveness of Pakistani textile items with Indian products, Mr. Nair says, “Pakistan is a competitive producer of textiles, perhaps more competitive than India in products like wide width fabrics, pv/pc fabrics, made-ups and garments. Further, since textiles are the largest export item of Pakistan, the Government gives certain incentives to this sector that enhance its competitiveness.”

“However, there is still scope for improving textiles trade between India and Pakistan. But the measures towards this should be mutual and fully reciprocated by Pakistan, so that both countries can benefit from the competitiveness of each other in various segments of the textile value chain,” he opines.

“We have made a request to the Indian Government that no unilateral concessions may be extended to Pakistan in textiles trade, as it would have serious negative implications for our industry, especially the decentralized and SME sectors,” he informs.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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