ISLAMABAD - In a major break through, Pakistan managed to get a unanimous approval from the World Trade Organization on a unilateral European Union (EU) trade package which will allow tariff-free export of 75 Pakistani products to 27 member block’s markets over the next two years. An official statement issued by Commerce Minister said the package will enter into force after it is formally approved by the WTO General Council in March this year. The products include certain textile products, leather goods and ethanol. Pakistan has thanked all WTO member countries for their support. The government particularly appreciates the EU and its member states for their commitment to help Pakistan revive and stabilise its economy through trade. A meeting of the Council for Trade in Goods of WTO on Wednesday in Geneva unanimously approved a Pakistan-specific EU trade package.
The EU trade concessions are aimed at helping Pakistan to deal with economic losses caused by the unprecedented floods in Pakistan in 2010. The package will help increase Pakistan exports to EU countries and generate thousands of jobs in the country. Pakistan has made immense diplomatic efforts for EU concessions and passage of WTO waiver. President and Prime Minister during the Pakistan-EU summits held in 2010 and 2011 in Brussels underlined the need for the country’s enhanced market access to EU as part of government’s strategy of “trade not aid”. Prime Minister wrote to his counterpart in Bangladesh seeking their support for WTO waiver. Commerce Minister wrote to his counterparts in several countries making a case for Pakistan by elaborating how the proposed concessions will not adversely impact their vital interests in the EU.