Pakistan may seek duty-free textile exports to India

Commerce minister of both countries hold meeting in New Delhi.

Ppi April 12, 2012

NEW DELHI: Pakistan is likely to ask for allowing duty-free exports of its textiles and apparel items to India, during a meeting of commerce ministers of both countries on Thursday.

DK Nair, Secretary General Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI), said, "Pakistan is the only country in South Asian Free Trade Area (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 the present status of textile exports permitted by respective countries, he said, "As of now, Pakistan has a negative list of over 1,200 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 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 said.

Analysing the competitiveness of Pakistani textile items with Indian products, Nair said, "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 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 measures towards this should be mutual and fully reciprocated by Pakistan, so that both the countries can benefit from competitiveness of each other in various segments of 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 decentralised and SME sectors," he said.


BruteForce | 9 years ago | Reply

Pakistan has a list of 1200 negative items, but India only 878? Pakistan has to lessen the number on that list, its just plain unfair.

India has been too eager to have free trade with Pakistan and it showed its intentions in 1996 when it gave MFN status to Pakistan. Why are Pakistanis so afraid?

I think trade is the battle of brains, organizations skills and street smartness. Is this an inferiority complex?

fahim | 9 years ago | Reply

Free trade with China as destroyed almost all industry in Pakistan and millions have lost jobs, while the chinese have happily walked away with profits to their country, much like British. India has efficiently protected the chinese textile junk from entering their market, but these guys can now use Pakistan as a backdoor. Hope proper protection is used by both Pakistan and India to prevent the chinese making profits and other's expense. They are particularly good at killing local industry as we saw in Pakistan and Africa.

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