Speakers at Punjab University’s seminar apprehensive about MFN | Pakistan Today

Speakers at Punjab University’s seminar apprehensive about MFN

Speakers at Punjab University’s seminar on opening trade with India warned that by awarding MFN status to India in haste and without approval of parliament, government would endanger Pakistan’s economy, culture and traditions. Pakistan Steel Mills former Chairman General (R) Muhammad Javed, Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) Chairman Syed Nabeel Hashmi, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences – Punjab University Professor Dr Muhammad Hafeez, Agri Forum Pakistan Chairman Ibrahim Mughal and ‘Together For Tomorrow’ President Dr Muhamad Asim addressed the seminar. They underscored that bureaucracy was creating a bogey of consumerism. Consumer interest was a fake argument as India still provides subsidy to its industries and any country under WTO providing subsidy, could not be given MFN status they proclaimed. They pointed out that India ‘officially’ opened its markets for Pakistan in 1996 by granting it MFN status. However, its peculiar Pakistan specific import tariffs and trade barriers restricted Pakistani exports to very low levels, they added. “Now we would open our markets for India if we pride it with MFN status,” said General (r) Javed adding that with our liberal import policy, Indian goods would flood our markets without corresponding increase in our exports. General (r) Muhammad Javed said it is very unfortunate that government policies do not match national interest which is creating chaos and panic among masses. He urged people and media to play their due role in bringing positive change in the country. PAAPAM Chairman, Syed Nabeel Hashmi, said Pakistani bureaucracy is making important economic decisions in haste. Commerce Secretary, Zafar Mahmood, is consoling Pakistani manufacturers by proclaiming that he will put many industries in negative list. But on the other hand, in his visit to India he said that negative list will be valid for a year only. He said government of Pakistan is making Pakistan a trading economy at the cost of revenue-generating local industries. Nabeel suggested that in the first phase, trade with India should be initiated with import of raw materials, machinery and equipments, moulds and dies etc. Further, transfer of technology through Joint Venture and Technical Assistance Agreements should be allowed he added. This would make Pakistani auto industry competitive, he concluded.

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