MFN, a pending obligation: TDAP | Pakistan Today

MFN, a pending obligation: TDAP

Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has clarified that the Most Favoured Nation status to be granted to India, was a pending obligation on behalf of Pakistan. Pakistan had no justification of not granting MFN status to India while giving it to all other countries in the WTO. This was said by Head of WTO Cell, TDAP, Mujeeb Ahmed Khan, while explaining the details of granted MFN status to India under WTO laws and obligations, during a seminar arranged by Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association on 23rd December, 2011. The purpose of seminar was to create the awareness regarding impact on trade with India after granting MFN status and to address apprehensions of Pharma Sector in this regard. Members from PPMA then shared their views and apprehensions in detail.
The major concern was of the impact on this sector regarding cost of products if there is an up surge of imports from India for medicines and related items which will affect the level playing field between the two countries. They stated their concern that this open trade with India, will result closure of factories in Pharmaceutical sector, and huge unemployment would ensue. Head of WTO Cell explained the detailed procedures and existing protective laws against NTB’s including a) safeguard measures b) anti-dumping duties c) anti-subsidy and countervailing duties d) tariff protection. He explained details of the regulatory framework through which drug imports could be tightly regulated. Head of Advisory Services, TDAP, Mr Tippu Sultan, explained in detail as to how the laws of WTO are implemented on its member countries without any discrimination for trade. He frankly stated that Pakistan could not place an outright ban on imports of items from a specific country. Import ban could only be placed from all worldwide sources. He reiterated the need of adapting legal protective tools to save domestic industry in the long run. Head of WTO Cell encouraged PPMA members to give proposals for all plausible suggestions which they think can save this industry but at the same time, he requested to base these suggestions on the precedent of some other countries where such initiatives have been taken to save their respective domestic industry. PPMA suggested that bureaucracy should play a positive role in backing-up the credible suggestions presented by Pharma Sector for its protection. They quoted some examples of Bangladesh and India itself, where government is not only providing subsidy but is also putting the trade protections against imports of different products just to save domestic industry. TDAP assured participants of their full support and encouraged them to use the platform of TDAP and Government of Pakistan to address their issues. The meeting concluded with a decision for formulation of “MFN Monitoring Cell within PPMA” and scheduling a 2nd round of discussion with TDAP by Mid-January 2012 to discuss future strategy in this regard.

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