Apparel Export Row: US Seeks Data On Trade Loss

New Delhi, January 28: | Updated: Jan 29 2003, 05:30am hrs
New Delhi put up a strong fight against Washingtons unilateral decision to introduce its rules of origin distorting international trade in textile and apparel products at the two-way hearing of both the parties held by a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel in Geneva on January 23 and 24. But US utilised most of the hearing to seeking concrete evidence from New Delhi in the form of statistical data to prove its point, say textile ministry officials.

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During the hearing, officials said, Washington had insisted New Delhi to provide information supported by data about the extent of trade loss suffered on account of the rules of origin and the dyeing and processing industry in India. We will be making our submissions to the panel in this regard shortly, officials said.

Officials also questioned Washingtons move to placate Brussels by changing the rules of origin to benefit textile and apparel products of export interest to the European Community after it threatened to take up the issue in the WTO dispute settlement body. Officials also maintained that the structure of the US rules of origin, their implementation and administration, the circumstances under which they were adopted and their effect on the condition of competition for textiles and apparel products demonstrated that they were used as instruments to pursue trade objectives.

What was more, US had introduced its rules of origin even as the process of harmonisation of the rules had commenced in Geneva on January 1, 1995 coinciding with the formation of the WTO, officials said.

Further, officials asserted that that the US move was incompatible with the provisions of the pact on rules of origin because it had resulted in disruption of global trade in textiles, especially those exported from India.

Exports of fabrics and made-ups were getting debited against the utilisation of quotas granted by the US under the pact on it, they said. The debiting implied reduced level of quotas for these products under the bilateral agreement signed between New Delhi and Washington, officials stated.