Pakistan and India are presently in talks to initiate a free trade
area (FTA) with the European Union that would grant their firms easy
access to the EU market”.The FTAs with Asian countries are expected to lower the tariffs further, raising the level of Asian exports into the EU market ..”While
cheaper textiles from China, India and other Asian countries have
squeezed our markets in US, we still prefer the market because of its
protective tariffs,” says Mr Jaswinder Bedi, chairman of Textile
Manufacturers Association of Kenya ..Statistics from the African
Cotton and Textile Industries Federation put the volume of Africa’s
textile exports at Sh130.9 billion ($1.7bn), less than one per cent of
the global textile sales ..More than 90 per cent of the African
textile exports go to the US -a market which has since been opened to
low cost Asian textiles following the expiry of the 2005 expiry Multi
Fibre Agreement (MFA) -a legal instrument that once spread a blanket of
protection against influx of developing countries’ products ..Compared
to the American market which maintains higher tariff walls of between
16 and 32 per cent on textile products from countries with which it
maintains non preferential trade agreements, EU’s external tariffs on
textiles range from 8 to 14 per cent ..”To an African producer, EU
is a very expensive market to penetrate because it requires heavy
expenditure on promotion while most firms have also complained of its
cumbersome entry rules,” Mr Joseph Kosure, the acting CEO of Kenya’s
Export Processing Authority told the Business Daily on Thursday ..Taking
a cue from the successful enactment of the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (Agoa) which opened the American market for African
textile in 2000, the EU included in the EPAs apparel and textile in the
list of items that would enter its market duty-and-quota-free ..But
ten years since EPAs talks were initiated, African textile players
maintain that lower external tariffs that EU extends to other regions
have let in textile from low-cost countries .


Source:Al Ahram Newspaper