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ISLAMABAD, May 15: The federal cabinet here on Wednesday approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pakistan and the European community that enhanced by 15 per cent Islamabad’s textile and clothing products quota from January 2001 to be further increased to 60 per cent by 2004.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, which was presided over by President Pervez Musharraf, Information Minister Nisar Memon said the cabinet was told that the 15-nation European Union had done a great favour by increasing Pakistan’s textile quota under textile quota enhancement agreement.

Mr. Memon said that Pakistan-European community textile trade is regulated through a bilateral agreement under which export of certain textile categories to the European Union is under quota restraint.

Beginning June 2001, he pointed out, a series of negotiating rounds were held with the EU in Islamabad and Brussels. These negotiations culminated in the initialling of an MoU between Pakistan and the EU in Brussels on October 15, 2001, outlining a comprehensive package of trade measures aimed at improving access to each other’s markets. “This was a main concession secured from European Union,” he added. This quota increase has become effective from the year 2001. In addition, Pakistan has also succeeded in obtaining from the EU a zero tariff for all products, except where Pakistan has ‘graduated out’ by virtue of its high market share. “Thus, this tariff concession, effective January 1, 2002, will cover about 75 per cent of our exports to Europe.”

The meeting further approved the signing of a trade agreement between Pakistan and Kuwait for promoting economic and commercial relations between the two countries.