Pakistan-India talks: ‘Let us trade concessions’

Published: March 11, 2011
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Pakistan links upcoming negotiations with Indian support for EU concessions at the WTO.

Pakistan links upcoming negotiations with Indian support for EU concessions at the WTO.

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan has linked the outcome of the upcoming trade talks with India to a change in New Delhi’s stance on the trade concessions offered by the European Union to Islamabad.

Testifying before the commerce committee of the National Assembly, Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood said that Pakistan had asked India to drop its opposition to a limited, three-year concession on tariffs granted by the European Union to Pakistan to help the country cope with the economic impact of the 2010 floods.

India – along with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam – has opposed the trade concessions by the European Union and has asked the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to rule them to be a violation of global trade. Pakistan, India and the EU are all signatories to WTO trade agreements. The WTO is due to take up the case in its arbitration panels on March 21.

Pakistani diplomats have already succeeded in convincing Sri Lanka to drop its objections. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has written to his counterpart in Bangladesh to drop Dhaka’s objections and the government also expects a favourable response. India, however, has not yet indicated whether it will continue its opposition at the March 21 hearing.

“If India opposes the concessions again, it will lead to an uncomfortable start to the trade liberalisation negotiations with the Indian commerce minister,” said Mahmood. “Indian opposition to the trade relief for flood-hit Pakistan will give negative message to Pakistanis and that too just few days before the start of the Indian minister’s visit.”

The Indian commerce minister is scheduled to visit Islamabad in the first half of April to discuss reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan has been intensely lobbying the European Union since 2004 to grant the country trade concessions similar to those available to Bangladesh. The government hired DLA Piper, one of the largest law firms in the world, to manage its lobbying efforts but was unable to convince European officials until September 2010, when the devastation caused by the floods convinced EU officials of the need to assist Pakistan’s economy.

The EU Council approved concessionary tariffs on 75 items, mainly textiles and related goods. Tariffs on these goods would go down from an average of 8.83 per cent to zero for a limited window of three years. According to the commerce ministry, the concessions are expected to increase exports by $350 million every year.

However, the package has yet to win approval of the European Parliament. Already there are signs of internal opposition. The EU has amended the original concessions proposal to remove seven items from the zero-tariff list.

“There is no guarantee that the WTO and the EU Parliament will approve the trade concessions,” said Mahmood. “The textile lobbies in Europe are also active against any relief [to Pakistan].”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (57)

  • Raj
    Mar 11, 2011 - 8:53AM

    Halal Vs HaramRecommend

  • J Oberoi
    Mar 11, 2011 - 9:08AM

    I guess it is a good idea for India to acquiesce. But international politics has always been about quid pro quo – you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Maybe Pakistan’s pledge to stop supporting the LeT might strike a chord with India. Just my thoughts.Recommend

  • chandran
    Mar 11, 2011 - 9:33AM

    then what u will give back to india and we are expecting MFN status from u
    and allow indian companies and banks operate from pakisthan will u do that?Recommend

  • anil
    Mar 11, 2011 - 9:58AM

    “Indian opposition to the trade relief for flood-hit Pakistan will give negative message to Pakistanis and that too just few days before the start of the Indian minister’s visit.”—is this ur message minister??India had urged Pakistan many times to allow to trade with Afg by land riutes.But no result.Doesn’t it send a negative message to war torn Afg.Pak was hit by flood last year,but Afg has been facing problem of war for last decade.really shameless.Tit for tat.India should take tough stands against Pak.India should ask the foreign companies operating in both India and pak to choose one country.Recommend

  • Karar Kashmiri
    Mar 11, 2011 - 11:07AM

    Stop your terrorism in Kashmir and we can ask India to consider. Else get ready for a similar dose. Pakistan will have to pay for each and every kashmiri that it has killed in the past so many years. No pakistani can sit at peace with the blood of innocent kashmiris on their hands. Its about time that we paid you back in the your coin. Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    Mar 11, 2011 - 12:02PM

    Strange ! Is this how Pakistan negotiates with India?

    The aid offered by India that was meant for the people affected by the devastating floods, was rejected by Pakistan.

    Now, the same Pakistan wants to negotiate with India, to take-back its objection to trade concessions by EU. As this is meant to help Pakistan to cope up with the economic impact of floods.

    Dear Pakistan, such trade connection will benefit the trading/ manufacturing community directly and not the flood affected people, who were mostly farmers.

    Also it is funny that Pakistan trying to negotiate trade liberations with India vis-a-vis trade connection with EU. Now, if India takes a tough stand, Pakistani trade and Industry will be a looser at both ends, with Eu and with India as well.

    So I repeat “Strange ! Is this how Pakistan negotiates with India?”Recommend

  • Blunt
    Mar 11, 2011 - 12:43PM

    You guys need monetary benefits, aids, concessions and what not?!
    Will Pakistan should support India openly in its quest for a permanent seat in the UNSC?
    Hah,Talk about double standards!Recommend

  • Ravi
    Mar 11, 2011 - 1:22PM

    Oh Come On…………..
    Has any pakistani ever tried to read between the lines of the government of india.
    Govt of India opposed the trade concessions because textiles and other related industries are in the southern part of pakistan which were extremely less of superficially affected by floods in 2010.
    The government of india is not against concession but concession should be provided to people who are directly and massively affected from the floods like your nwfp and gilgit baltistan etc.
    Give concessions to industries of NWFP, Gilgit-Baltistan and we have no problem.
    The opposition is ethical and not business oriented and not even enemity driven.
    I hope pakistanis understand !!!!!!!!!!! Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Mar 11, 2011 - 1:40PM

    pakistan should not beg fo help here, to take back opposition.
    it should give India something in kind – give some tradeoff for this assistance of trade.

    trade assistance with trade.Recommend

  • M. Tauseef Barlas
    Mar 11, 2011 - 2:52PM

    @chandran:
    india needs to remove restriction on items imported from Pakistan. This is the big problem in giving MFN status.Recommend

  • M. Tauseef Barlas
    Mar 11, 2011 - 2:55PM

    Indian hate towards Pakistan is extremely high. I review their comments on this newspaper and Times of India.Recommend

  • Pankaj
    Mar 11, 2011 - 3:05PM

    Pakistan imports much more from India than we import from you

    Even very recently 7 more items were added by your govt to the list of items , that can be imported from India taking the number of items to 1945 , by the Pakistan government because of the severe shortage in your country

    And above THAT a lot of Indian goods come from and via Dubai

    SO please keep this attitude .You need our market much more than we do

    And FOR keeping transport costs LESS Pakistan has NO choice but to buy from India Recommend

  • I am an Indian with a distorted analysis
    Mar 11, 2011 - 3:19PM

    @Karar Kashmiri
    ” Pakistan will have to pay for each and every kashmiri that it has killed in the past so many y”

    This coming from an Indian just reflects the irony Recommend

  • pl/sql
    Mar 11, 2011 - 3:25PM

    @M. Tauseef Barlas:
    Thank you and the converse applies to you Pakistanis.
    So you should stop whining about it.Recommend

  • Aryabhat
    Mar 11, 2011 - 3:52PM

    International business works as BUSINESS!

    Let us say India takes away the objection, what will it gain? Will Pakistan allow Indian movies? Or Indian Banks? Or Indian cars? This will benefit both – Indian and Pakistani industries. But then that would be too sensible to do I guess!

    As for Pakistanis complaining about Indian trade barriers, remember Indian imports MORE then its Exports! If whole world can export to India, may be something rotten in Pakistani business competitiveness rather?

    As for – ““If India opposes the concessions again, it will lead to an uncomfortable start to the trade liberalisation negotiations with the Indian commerce minister,” said Mahmood. “Indian opposition to the trade relief for flood-hit Pakistan will give negative message to Pakistanis and that too just few days before the start of the Indian minister’s visit.”” – That just sounds like Blackmail at worst, fish market bargain at the best!Recommend

  • arshad
    Mar 11, 2011 - 4:31PM

    @M. Tauseef Barlas:
    Its natural to hate you as your people are exporting terrorism to India and other countries also. Be freindly with India and make progress positively.Recommend

  • Krishna
    Mar 11, 2011 - 4:36PM

    Indians do not hate people of Pakistan. We hate the anti India policies. We are disgusted with Pakistani military support for terrorists who plant bombs in our markets.Recommend

  • Ronit
    Mar 11, 2011 - 4:41PM

    @Barlas

    Will Pakistan open up its markets for Indian MNCs or will u keep up with ur protectionism?Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Mar 11, 2011 - 5:30PM

    Do not look at trade concessions in isolation. There was vast opposition to KL bill by Pakistan Army because the bill sought to aid social sector rather than military. This in essence reflects the priority of Pakistan establishment. Under such circumstances why should India not assume that
    a. Pakistan does not need concessions as it has ample resources to fund its Military, then why concessions on trade?
    b. That the monies accrued (that too by putting Indian exports into competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis Pakistan) will not be diverted to Military which is so India centric?Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Mar 11, 2011 - 5:38PM

    @M. Tauseef Barlas:
    As for as MFN is concerned India has already given MFN status to Pakistan but Pakistan has not given the same to India but is on verge of signing FTA with China. Also Pakistan has not given any transit rights for shipment of goods from India to Afganistan. All the more reason why India should oppose this unfair advantage sought by Pakistan.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Mar 11, 2011 - 5:39PM

    @M. Tauseef Barlas:
    “…Indian hate towards Pakistan is extremely high.”
    And, Pakistan and Pakistanis are how so innocent and sweet towards India! Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 11, 2011 - 6:48PM

    @G.Din
    I challenge you to mention any comments by Pakistanis on Pakistani newspaper website that show hatred towards India??.Just go and read the comments on times of India website then tell me that who is spreading hatred??.
    Regarding flood aid Pakistan never rejected Indian aid but only requested that it should be directed via international relief agencies.Recommend

  • Fact Check
    Mar 11, 2011 - 7:36PM

    Great beginnig, threat!Recommend

  • kamaal
    Mar 11, 2011 - 10:26PM

    Pakistani only wants to take…they are not willing to give anything away.India has given MFN status to Pakistan,but Pakistan refused to give any such status to India.Why on earth India should allow this to happen and put its industry and farmers to disadvantage??Recommend

  • G. Din
    Mar 12, 2011 - 3:11AM

    @Hasan:
    Three unnecessary wars, all initiated by Pakistan, all supported by Pakistanis, all lost by Pakistan.
    Popular bumper sticker in Karachi just before 1965 war: “CRUSH INDIA”.
    Pakistanis may not post hate comments in newspaper coloumns, but they do practice hate in “practical” ways!
    The only war for which some Pakistanis showed some distaste was the sneaky occupation of the Kargil heights!Recommend

  • Carmel
    Mar 12, 2011 - 4:55AM

    It is strange for Indians to fuss about legitimate trade concessions that Pakistan is receiving – with regards to these concessions being natural-disaster linked. Fear karma, for a natural disaster can hit any nation at any time – given that you are (economically) much stronger than your neighbor. It is also sad that whenever I visit this website to read about upcoming trade news in South East Asia, I see a bunch of Indians visiting the site to cry foul about even the most reasonable of negotiations. Please, Indians, don’t ruin the world’s perception of your nation. I understand that the cultural dimensions in your country prohibit you from keeping a calm and composed state of mind when thinking about real affairs, but I doubt that Kashmir and insurgency has anything to do with this article.

    p.s: to the Tribune: I realize now that your website is more popular in India than it is in Pakistan. Given their large population, congratulations, you have done a great job.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 1:19PM

    @G.Din
    What about Indian occupation of Kashmir,killing innocents in Samjhauta Express.What about Indian weapons recovered from swat valley during Pakistan army operation.Can you justify all these actions.Who was ready to go on war after Mumbai attacks.Who was threatening its neighbor to attack.I can post 100 videos from multiple websites in which young Indian children debating against Pakistan and your are talking about bumper sticker.If your country is so peace loving then why 24 separatist movements are running in your country?Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Mar 12, 2011 - 3:44PM

    @Carmel:
    Why does Pakistan not divert funds to social sector rather than on Military establishment? Why does it not fairly compete in market place but seek an unfair advantage? Read “The paradox” published elsewhere in this newspaper to get clear picture.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Mar 12, 2011 - 3:48PM

    @Hasan:
    Even if there are one thousand insurgencies in our country, still we are not asking for any unfair advantage in a competitive market space.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Mar 12, 2011 - 7:27PM

    @Hasan:
    I would consider you a lost cause and not worth the effort. You are too brainwashed for that and only Time and circumstance will change your mind.
    In the meanwhile, just remember this adage: India, or any democracy, does not initiate any action which is threatening. But, democracies -India amongst them- are the only ones generally left standing. Any provocation on the part of adversaries will invite progressive, disproportionately massive retaliation from Indians(Hindus). The days of bin Qasim are long past!
    As far as our insurgencies are concerned, we shall deal with them. They are our insurgencies. If you must know, those insurgencies are driven by economic factors which are a necessary outcome of breathtakingly fast economic changes, something you as a Pakistani, used to bakhsheesh from all and sundry, would not understand. So, don’t even try!Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 8:11PM

    @G.Din I am also not interested in arguing with you.I think you have been living under a rock as you are saying that India does not initiate any action that is threatening.And I assure you that Pakistan will also deal with its insurgents and we are paying a heavy price for that.Well I can understand that the underworld of Mumbai and separatist movements in India are the outcome of “breathtakingly fast economic factors”.good job.We Pakistanis can never understand such logicRecommend

  • Ravi
    Mar 12, 2011 - 8:28PM

    @Carmel:
    1) Fear karma
    We kept fearing god and karma meanwhile butchers from arabia kept coming in.
    2) for a natural disaster can hit any nation at any time
    Agree whole heartedly.
    3) given that you are (economically) much stronger than your neighbour.
    Do pakistanis realize this????
    4) It is also sad that whenever I visit this website to read about upcoming trade news in South East Asia, I see a bunch of Indians visiting the site to cry foul about even the most reasonable of negotiations.
    Oh ya comenting of negotiation concerning India by indians is crying foul. Wow what a standard.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 8:35PM

    @Tony Singh
    I appreciate that at least one Indian thinks thats there are insurgent in there country TOO.Well you said that Pakistan is asking for unfair advantage,more than 20 million people affected by floods,very low foreign flood aid,economy in bad shape,high level of corruption,war on terror.Pakistan is facing such ordeals and if they ask EU for trade concession for limited amount of time then India opposes it.All I can say is that there is no problem I recommend that India should oppose Pakistan on every forum thats the way you(India) work.Recommend

  • Ron(Indian)
    Mar 12, 2011 - 9:10PM

    @Hasan:
    underworld problem of mumbai has gone down by increase in police force and modernisation but if you find Dawood Ibrahim the famous relative of Javed miandad on streets of karachi then please send him good wishes as his gang has suffered alot in these days..Regarding separatist movements I request you to listen the monthly report of P Chidambaram. Yes on monthly basis (on last day of each month)he gives report to media about these developments. Economical development in this region is on track and we will informed you on this forum as when the problem gets resolved so now start thinking about pakistan’s problem in Karachi as well as in western front as there are no terrorist in southern punjab as per shariff brothers.. First save pakistan then try to think about India. Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 13, 2011 - 1:17AM

    @Carmel: “It is also sad that whenever I visit this website to read about upcoming trade news in South East Asia, I see a bunch of Indians visiting the site to cry foul about even the most reasonable of negotiations.”

    Can’t help it – we are Banias, as you know. Our people come first. Recommend

  • G. Din
    Mar 13, 2011 - 3:22AM

    @Hasan:
    “…separatist movements in India are the outcome of “breathtakingly fast economic factors”.good job.We Pakistanis can never understand such logic”
    “…something you as a Pakistani, used to bakhsheesh from all and sundry, would not understand. So, don’t even try!”
    Warned ya not even to try!Recommend

  • sundar
    Mar 13, 2011 - 7:07AM

    @Hasan:
    What is Mumbai underworld to do with economic advance? Insurgency movements in India are due to uneven economic growth, fuelled by China and her minnow Pakistan. These insurgents are not religious fanatics AND we are not exporting terrorism like your army does. Why don’t your army show the supposedly captured Indian arms to the entire world? Your guys doesn’t miss any opportunity to talk but couldn’t show any shred of evidence. Anyway this is not to score browny points. Both nations have the potential to grow economically strong and lifts people out of the poverty. If your army is really patriotic they will have the national interest ahead of their business empire and personal perks. Recommend

  • Carthart
    Mar 13, 2011 - 9:59AM

    @Carmel:
    It is more popular in India Just because its in English, slightly more along the path of true reporting, being associated with the IHT, and not quite like your Regular Zaid Hamid and his fellow cronies analyzed conspiracy theories. And moreover, just the very fact that there are 1000 times more Indians who can read and understand than the Pakis.

    If you want to find Pakis, the best place to find them would be some conspiracy theory channel or some place where religious bigots are asking people to kill more people. Tribune isnt exactly your kind of place, is it? Guess pakis should stick to regular war rhetoric and bomb talk, as it is there is nothing else to talk about, when most of your economy is focused on begging for alms and spending on arms, there really is nothing else left to talk about apart from; well… ALMS and ARMS. Recommend

  • Carthart
    Mar 13, 2011 - 10:03AM

    @Hasan:
    It was nice to hear your stories, but maybe you arent aware since you have been taught these things since you were in your Kindergarten, but what you consider facts is nothing but a big bunch of BS aka CONSPIRACY THEORIES.

    So it would be better if you go out to some local Paki websites where you ll find ssupport for that sort of BS, when you come to the website of a newspaper associated with an international one and run your mouth with your dreamy Conspiracy theories, it just reinforces the belief that people all over the world have about your country. Not a good place to be in, Is it?Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:07PM

    @sunder “Insurgency movements in India are due to uneven economic growth, fuelled by China and her minnow Pakistan”.yeah this is true Indian behaviors blame it on Pakistan and ISI.Corruption in Indian government,40 billion$ of telecom scam,cwg scam all because of Pakistan.Right?Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:09PM

    @G. Din Dont worry I have no time to understand this foolish logic.I can understand that only you people in the world can think like this.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:13PM

    @Hasan:
    Why does not it cut its defence expenditure? If there is a fear that India will attack Pakistan, ask USA and China for gurantees. US has already assured your country on eastern border. Indians generally want a stable Pakistan. This also helps it develop its bodering states more rapidly by bringing in big projects. You can test missiles every second day, spend millions on security of your nuclear weapons, then why can’t you compete fairly in competitive market space? India competes with China, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Vietnam, Thailand all compete without asking for trade concessions. The fact sir, is you want to win both ways, heads or tails. That is simply not done.
    It is simple. The priorities of Pakistan’s establishment are wrong. The likes of Hafiz Saeed and others openly advocate nuclear war and Ghazwe-Hind(or whatever) with India and Jihad (see article on rally on 6th Feb) with abetment and encouragement of its Army.
    Would anyone give concessions to such a neighbour?Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:16PM

    @sundar Have to heard of wikileaks?. Go on and search on Google and you will get proof from wikleak about RAW involvement in Pakistan.”Both nations have the potential to grow economically strong and lifts people out of the poverty” I agree with you on this 100%.Both nations have to work together to stop terrorism rather then going for blame game.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:36PM

    @Carthart
    Have to read the BS that your fellow Indians have wrote before.I think not.You people consider yourself so superior and wise.I can only laugh at your hatred or of the WORLD.Recommend

  • Ravi
    Mar 13, 2011 - 1:33PM

    @Hasan:
    ya we have atleast 40 bln $ to do corruption but you are just beggers..Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 2:23PM

    @Tony Singh No,there is no fear but Pakistan has to achieve minimum nuclear deterrence and its the right of ever nation of the world.As India is also practicing this right.About your concern of defense budget then if u dont know then i tell you there Pakistan army is involved in massive military operation in south waziristan.About hafiz saaed,both countries have people that incite masses against there neighbor,even in India there are 100 hafiz saaed spreading hatred towards Pakistan.As I belive they are of no importance if we stop listening to them.About concessions pakistan did not ask India for concessions,it was EU and India opposed it as usual.India nation have this behavior since 1947.We cant expect moreRecommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 3:08PM

    @ ravi
    Joke of the yearRecommend

  • Roflcopter
    Mar 13, 2011 - 9:39PM

    Why is Pakistan even in talks with terrorist India?Recommend

  • arshad
    Mar 13, 2011 - 10:48PM

    @Roflcopter: Dear don’t be ostrich., whole world knows the epicentre of terrorism. Very much the only pakistan.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 11:33PM

    @arshad so India is whole world?.Another joke of the year.You Indians are really funnyRecommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 14, 2011 - 2:48AM

    @Roflcopter: Do not say that.Indian consider themselves the most pious and wise they never have killed christens, Muslims and Sikhs.they never have razed mosques and churches.they never have spoiled sporting events by destroying fields,they are tolerant nation as the whole world knows and according to Manmohan Singh and CNN Pakistan is epicenter of terrorism.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Mar 14, 2011 - 8:44AM

    @Hasan:
    So let the Pakistanis get their priorities right. Pak is asking concessions from EU at cost of other countries including India. If Pak has right to build its Military might, Indian Govt has a duty towards its people to protect its interests so long as they are fair and in line with international law. Your establishment has to strike a balance between development and deterrence. BTW your Army’s operations are result of their own policies backfiring on them. Why should other countries pay for that?Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 14, 2011 - 1:46PM

    @Tony Singh: What about terrorist activities and terrorist organizations in India?are they also policies of Pakistan and ISI.Our military might is also “in line with international law”.Your talk of balance in development and deterrence tell me what is corruption rate in India,How many people are living in Slums in WHOLE India.You are spending millions on stupid moon missions only to prove that you are very advanced on the other hand hundreds on farmers in India are doing suicide for money.In 2006 4000 farmers did suicide only in state of maharashtra.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Mar 15, 2011 - 12:57PM

    @Hasan:
    But still we are not asking EU for concessions. Its Pakistan which is asking for concessions. We have not gone to EU saying – our famers are suffering please give us concessions. or our politicians are corrupt so please compensate – give us concessions.
    These are our problems. We have to solve them but not at the cost of Pakistan or any other nation. Likewise Pakistan has to solve its problem, but not at cost of other nations.Recommend

  • vikram
    Mar 16, 2011 - 9:51AM

    India wants Pakistan to get maximum insult by begging for aid, not proud of trade. One $ goes to Pakistan, 60 cents are used on terrorists against India. Now India growing in importance world wide, Pakistan should get ready to have worst time in the future, because more they will beg, more souls of innocent Kashmiris got killed by Pakistani terrorist will be in peace.Recommend

  • Irfan
    Mar 17, 2011 - 9:17PM

    All india pakistan topics flame:)

    Lets give them concessions and pursue JUD hafiz saeed.

    It would be a good deal.Recommend

  • chandran
    Mar 23, 2011 - 4:27PM

    wav pakisthan says it increasing defence budget because of India fear
    but one country already attacking pakisthan through its drone periodically but they never think about that.Recommend

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