ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is expecting that Bangladesh most likely to withdraw its objections to a special European Union trade package for Islamabad in the upcoming meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods to be held on February 1, it has learnt on Thursday.

“We hope Bangladesh relents and removes its objections,” an official confided to The Nation on Thursday when contacted. Sources told TheNation that Pakistan has addressed the concerns of Bangladesh regarding European Union (EU) package for Islamabad, which was granted in 2010 after the devastating floods in Pakistan.

The EU had announced a trade package for Pakistan in 2010 wherein Pakistan would enjoy two years unilateral tariff concession package proposed for about 75 items to be exported to EU. However this package was subject to the WTO wavier.

It is to be noted that first India then Bangladesh had raised the concerns over the said trade package given to Pakistan.

Later, India has withdrawn its opposition after Pakistan assuring it for granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to New Delhi in November last year but some other countries including Bangladesh opposed the concession.

Sources on Thursday told on the condition of anonymity that Islamabad had addressed the concerns of the Dhaka and now we are expecting that WTO would approve the said package in the meeting to be held on February 1.

It might be recalled here that on the objection of Bangladesh, European Union move to grant trade preferences, GSP plus status, to Pakistan as an aid measure following last year floods in Pakistan, has been halted. Bangladesh was worried about this decision, as they said Pakistan is a cotton growing country and has an extra advantage that would create an uneven competition, if EU provides trade benefit to Pakistan.

World Trade Organisation rules say there should be no discrimination and all trade partners must be dealt at par.

Therefore, EU cannot take an exceptional measure for Pakistan, i.e. the EU should treat all WTO members impartially, and any member of WTO can block the deal. Bangladesh competes with Pakistan for textile products in the European market.