Pakistan is to appeal for free trade access to Europe during a landmark summit with EU leaders next month as the key Western ally steps up its demands for more support for its war-ravaged economy Officials said that Pakistan was struggling to cope with the cost of fighting alongside the West against the Taliban while billion pound aid packages "were not having an impact". Its diplomats have sought British support as the country targets three key concessions from EU leaders at the meeting in April. Pakistan hopes to gain a three year deal on duty and quota free exports to the EU, a status that was granted to Pakistan in 2002 but expired in 2005. The concession would boost the country's all important cotton industry - the largest employer - and was estimated to be worth $10 billion (6 billion) a year when it was last extended. In the long-run Pakistan hopes for a Free Trade Agreement with Europe. Officials want the summit to set a start date for negotiations. Pakistan is the only country in South Asia that does not have free trade agreeement with the world's biggest trading bloc and claims its exporters suffer disproportionately as a result. Lastly Pakistan officials want the EU to target its aid packages to improve conditions in conflict-scarred areas of the country. Douglas Alexander, the International Development secretary, acknowleged this month that aid should be better targetted to support reconstruction in the frontier provinces next to Afghanistan where the army has waged an offensive against Taliban infiltration. Mr Alexander said Britain would provide 20 million for short term support for displaced people, construction of temporary schools and quick impact projects such as rebuilding bridges. European assistance to Pakistan is however dwarfed by American spending in the region. Richard Holbrooke, Washington's envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan last week signalled a "major intensification" of its support for Pakistan by launching a $1.5 billion five year plan to improve conditions in Pakistan. He said: "The United States is supporting Pakistan as it seeks to strengthen democratic institutions, as it seeks to foster more economic development, expand opportunities, deal with its energy and water problems, and defeat the extremist groups who threaten both Pakistan's security and stability in the larger region, and American national security as well. "We do not think that the money is moving as fast as we'd like it to." (The Telegraph)