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India raises dispute over E.U. `preferences' to Pakistan

By Amit Baruah

MUNICH May 29. The Commerce Minister, Arun Jaitley, said today that India was raising a dispute with the European Union at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over ``preferences'' given by the E.U. to Pakistan in return for measures taken by Islamabad to tackle the menace of narcotics.

Talking to presspersons on board the Prime Minister's special flight from Berlin to Munich, he said that such a measure led to a ``trade diversion'' from India to Pakistan. India's dispute was with the European Union and not Pakistan.

On bilateral issues with Germany, Mr. Jaitley said that Berlin was positive about giving visas to Indian information technology professionals. His comments came after a meeting with the German Economy and Labour Minister, Wolfgang Clement.

He said the special visas announced in 2001 by Germany for IT professionals were to end in July this year and Germany was considering new legislation dealing with the issue of visas and work permits. India wanted an interim arrangement till the new law came into existence.

There was discussion on E.U.-related issues. India wanted German support on the issue of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures that the E.U. has taken against New Delhi. Though India had been accused of frequently resorting to anti-dumping measures not a single one of the 153 inquires raised by India had been challenged or upset on grounds of not being WTO-compatible. Simultaneously, a very large percentage of the measures taken against India had been set aside for not being WTO-compatible, Mr. Jaitley added.

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