Strasbourg: European MPs called on Thursday for
extra protection for European businesses in trade concessions
the European Union wants to give Pakistan to help the country
recover from devastating floods.
Nuno Melo, a conservative Portuguese lawmaker, warned
that the proposal to lift import duties on 75 Pakistani
products would be a "tragic decision for Europe."
Melo called for forms of compensation to be installed
such as quotas on textile products, a vital industry in
Portugal, Greece and Spain, countries he said were already
enduring a "serious crisis."
The impact "may not be great" for the 27-nation bloc as a
whole, "but for us it would be huge," he stressed.
Italian Liberal lawmaker Niccolo Rinaldi also urged the
European Commission, the EU`s executive arm, to take measures
to "avoid creating a precedent" for other countries and
"worsen the crisis" in the European textile industry.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht sought to reassure
the 736-member legislature in Strasbourg, insisting that an
analysis showed that the impact on European products would
likely be "modest."
The trade advantages, which must still be approved by the
World Trade Organisation, will have a lifespan of three years,
De Gucht said.
He also dismissed fears that the measures would
exacerbate unemployment in Europe, calling such talk "not