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WTO tells EU to scrap preference for drugs

Our Economy Bureau  |  New Delhi 

The (WTO) arbitrator has asked the (EU) to do away with to developing countries for combating drug trafficking from July 1, 2005.
The ruling, released today, is a victory of sorts for India, which had sought the removal of preferences under the drug window from November this year. India had argued that the burden on its exports would increase if the implementation period was longer than 15 months. The WTO's Dispute Settlement Body had adopted the report against the EU in April this year.
On its part, the EU contended that it would need over 20 months or time "until January 1, 2006" to implement the decision as there were various layers of decision-making involved.
It also argued that the enlargement of the union to include 25 member countries made the job tougher and with drug trafficking being a politically-sensitive issue, it would need more consultations with stakeholders.
India had sought the appointment of an arbitrator following a dispute settlement body and appellate body ruling against the EU's
The EU had sought a "reasonable period of time" to implement the order. India had approached the the EU's decision to give to textiles imports from Pakistan under the drug window.
"India submits that the implementation period in this dispute should be the shortest period possible within the legal system of the European Communities. India argues that the European Communities has the burden of proving that immediate implementation is impracticable and that the period of time proposed by the European Communities is reasonable in view of the particular circumstances of this case; also, the European Communities must prove that the period proposed is the shortest period possible within the legal system of the European Communities," the arbitrator said in his ruling released on the WTO website.
"The European Communities is not faced with the problem of choosing between various implementing measures," India said.
The EU is working on a new (GSP) scheme for the 2006-2015 period.

First Published: Tue, September 21 2004. 00:00 IST