'The Battle over the EU’s Proposed Humanitarian Trade Preferences for Pakistan: A Case Study in Multifaceted Protectionism'

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-59
JournalJournal of World Trade
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
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In the wake of devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010, the European Union (EU) has attempted to use trade policy to provide humanitarian assistance by temporary lowering of tariffs on select imports from Pakistan. This proposal, justified on humanitarian grounds, requires a World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver, which so far has not been possible, amidst developing countries’ concerns regarding erosion of the value of their preferential access to the EU market. A detailed examination of the EU proposal indicates marginal benefit to Pakistan at best, given sensitive import competing products were largely excluded, suggesting that protectionist interests had a hand in shaping the policy. The findings also suggest that trade policy might not be an effective means to provide humanitarian assistance.