Textile Ind Harmed By Tardy Progress On Doha Agenda

New Delhi, December 23: | Updated: Dec 24 2002, 05:30am hrs
The development dimension envisaged in the overall package negotiated at the Doha ministerial has been jettisoned with the tardy progress in regard to three major implementation issues, including the two relating to the textile sector, confronting the Third World, say textile ministry officials. Application of the most favourable methodology for calculating quota levels for small suppliers and granting higher quotas for the Third World retrospectively from January 1, 2000 are the two main issues in terms of the WTO agreement on textiles & clothing (ATC).

With the result, the committee on trade in goods, constituted by WTO to examine two textile implementation concerns could not stick to the July 31, 2002 deadline set for the purpose and submit its recommendations to the WTO General Council, following stiff opposition from the industrialised countries, particularly the US. The third issue that remains unimplemented is in regard to the special and differential treatment provisions in favour of the Third World (Para 44), officials pointed out. Officials warn that any attempt to drive the Doha work programme forward at two speedsat a faster pace for areas of concern to developed countries and at a slower pace for those of the Third Worldwill lead to unravelling of the package and create roadblocks in the process, which, in the interests of the future of multilateral trading system, we must seek to avoid at all costs. The ATC which replaced the multi-fibre arrangement and became effective from January 1, 1995 envisaged integration of the entire textile export quotas into the global economy within a ten-year transition period ending on December 31, 2004.

Officials, however, are concerned that there has been no meaningful integration of restrained categories under the ATC. In respect of India, 95 per cent of apparel, fabric and yarn trade remain unintegrated even after the third stage (January 1, 02) with some of its major trading partners.

Officials feel disappointed that New Delhis problems have been compounded by repeated and unjustified anti-dumping action on products already under quota restrictions and other customs and administrative formalities including changes in rules of origin. Contrary to the position taken by Washington, New Delhi, officials say, continues to hammer the point that the Third Worlds textile exports to the US declined from 77 to 66 per cent in 1994-00 and to the EU from 46 to 43 per cent.