US, EU ASSURE COMMITMENT TO PHASE OUT OF TEXTILE QUOTAS
ARUN JAITLEY TAKES UP MARKET ACCESS ISSUES WITH US, EU – ROBERT ZOELLICK,
PASCAL LAMY AND TRADE MINISTERS OF KENYA, BRAZIL MEET JAITLEY
Date : 14 Feb 2003
Location : New Delhi
The United States and the European Union (EU) have assured India of their commitment to the phase out of textile quotas and integration of textiles into the multilateral trading regime by the scheduled deadline of 31st December, 2004. In other words, from 1st January 2005, there will be no quota restrictions on textile exports. This assurance was given by both Mr. Robert Zoellick, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Mr. Pascal Lamy, the EC Trade Commissioner, at separate bilateral meetings with Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice, in Tokyo today, when Mr. Jaitley strongly took up several market access issues of concern to India with the US and the EU and underlined that there should be no reopening of the textile quota phase out issue.
The Minister also took up with Mr. Zoellick India’s concern over the proposed New Jersey legislation which could have serious implications for the Indian software industry by imposing restrictions on outsourcing of business operations to overseas countries including India as well as the issue of the proposed anti-subsidy and anti-dumping trade measure against Indian sea food. Mr. Jaitley pointed out that the US market was very important for India’s seafood exports and the proposed action would adversely affect Indian exports. Mr. Zoellick noted India’s concerns and promised to look into these issues raised by the Minister. The scope for cooperation in the area of services between India and the US also figured in the discussions.
During discussions with Pascal Lamy, Mr. Jaitley raised the issue of grant of GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) concessions to textiles under the drug window waiver to some countries, which is estimated to have entailed a loss of nearly US $ 300 million for Indian garment exports. India has moved the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for the setting up of a dispute settlement panel on this issue.
The Minister also had an exchange of views at separate bilaterals with the Trade & Industry Minister of Kenya, Mukhisa Kituyi and the Minister of Foreign Trade, Development and Industry of Brazil, Mr. Luiz Fernando Furlan. The Kenyan Minister recalled Kenya’s traditional ties with India and areas of common interest in the WTO negotiations including agriculture and non-agricultural issues. He evinced interest in promotion of joint ventures with India for the production and supply of drugs. The Brazilian Minister emphasised the commonality of interests between India and Brazil and the intention to work together in the ongoing WTO negotiations. It was also agreed to intensify relations between India and the MERCOSUR (a regional trading group consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay). In this context, it was indicated that discussions will be held in April on a possible preferential trading arrangement between India and the MERCOSUR countries. .