Mr Nair and Mr Oswal told the meeting that there was scope for binding those unbound items if developed countries, particularly the US and the EU, offered more than proportionate reduction in their tariffs and other textile export countries also agreed to reduce their tariffs.
In fact, the entire textile sector was unanimous in adopting this approach during the WTO negotiations on market access for non-agricultural products (industrial) currently underway in Geneva, they stated, adding that they had already communicated this to the textile commissioners office two or three months ago.
Speaking to FE, Mr Nair explained that in the US and Europe, the overall import duty was substantially low, whereas the peak rates were high enough on textile products. India was authorised to retain high import duties on labour-intensive products under the special and differential treatment accorded under the WTO rules, he said.
Speaking at the seminar, Mr Mohapatra also clarified that the applied rates on textile products in India were between 5 per cent and 25 per cent and that the peak rates had been slashed from 75 per cent in 1998 to the peak applied rates of 25 per cent in 2003.
He also hoped that the increased market access for the Third World resulting from the complete phaseout of quotas under the WTO Agreement on Textiles & Clothing by December 31, 2004 would not be impaired by back-to-back anti-dumping investigations by developed countries.