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Saturday, 30 May 2009

US bill tailors duty-free textile access to LDCS, including Cambodia

Textile workers in Cambodia. The duty-free access for Cambodian garments to American markets would boost employments in Cambodia which has suffered great decline due to world economic slowdown.

Saturday, May 30, 2009
APP (Pakistan)

Karachi—Two US Senators Dianne Feinstein, and Kit Bond have introduced a bill that would grant duty-free access (upto a limit) for textile and apparel goods, to 14 least-developed countries (LDCS) that are not currently beneficiaries under any U.S. preference program.

According to information reaching Pakistan, they are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Yemen. The same benefits would be made available to Sri Lanka as well.

A large number of textile exporters and industrialists, while expressing concern over this development, have said that this move will further shrink Pakistan’s share in US textile market.

Chairman F B Area Association of Trade and Industry M Idress Gigi said that this is alarming. Pakistan is an important ally of USA in war on terror and we have been trying to get duty free access in American market. But we did not get the access and our competitors Bangladesh and Sri Lanka got it, he said.

Former chairman Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan S M Obaid said that the government must take up this matter with US government and get a market access for Pakistani exporters. Pakistan has sustained huge losses on account of terrorism. We are the strong ally of USA and we have a valid case for this access, he noted.

If this bill is passed it will be a disaster for our textile exports, he added.

Chairman North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry Muhammad Younus Khamisani said that the cost of Pakistani textile is already high due to high mark up and utilities rates. Duty free access to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will shunt out Pakistani textile products from USA, he observed.

The goal of the legislation is to help promote democracy while sustaining vital export industries and creating employment opportunities in LDCs.

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