EU Slaps Dumping Duty On Pak Bedlinen, Stalls Trade Pact

Updated: Nov 19 2003, 05:30am hrs
The European Union (EU) has slapped anti-dumping duties on imports of Pakistan bedlinen and stalled a third generation trade agreement with that country, evoking protest from Islamabad which said the decision was in abuse of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

EU trade minister Pascal Lamy last week informed his Pakistani counterpart Humayun Akhtar about the decision of the European Union to levy the anti-dumping duties and stalled the agreement. Pakistan, however, protested strongly against the decision with Mr Akhtar saying on Monday that the EU had no right to take such drastic action before the completion of the dumping investigations initiated by it.

He said EUs decision was in abuse of the rules of WTO.

The decision came as a surprise to Pakistan as the EU had granted special trade concessions to Pakistan in the aftermath of Islamabads decision to join the war on terrorism and support the crackdown on militant Taliban.

Pointing out that the EU could not levy anti-dumping duties without determining the actual quantum of dumping, Mr Akhtar said Pakistan had offered EU a voluntary price mechanism in which certain products would not be exported below the prescribed price.

Pakistan would be left with no option but to challenge the decision at the WTO appellate tribunal if EU carried out its threat, he said. From January to November, Pakistan had exported $312 million worth of bedlinen to EU. PTI

, showing an increase of 27 per cent over the same period last year.

Recently, EU sprang another surprise by informing the Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri during his visit to Brussels that it might not sign the third generation trade agreement, granting more trade concessions to Pakistan.

Earlier, the EU had levied anti-dumping duties on Pakistans bedlinen from 1997 but withdrew it in January 2002 after conducting its own investigations. In December 2002, the EU again started investigation but called it off half-way. Mr Akhtar said he along with some top bedlinen exporters would soon visit Bussels and then Geneva to sort out the differences with the EU. PTI