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MFN status: Ministry, NTC yet to make recommendations

MFN status: Ministry, NTC yet to make recommendations

ISLAMABAD: The issue pertaining to recommendations on tariff barriers with India seems to have been in the doldrums because the National Tariff Commission (NTC) and Ministry of Commerce (MoC) declined having any information in this regard.
The Customs Today had explored last week that the Ministry of Commerce had sought suggestions from the National Tariff Commission (NTC) to safeguard measures, tariff and para tariffs, duties and subsidies for local industry, where deemed necessary, with regard to granting most favourite nation (MFN) status to India.
However, when this scribe approached the MoC to learn about its current stance on the issue, the officials concerned expressed their ignorance about any development in this regard.
On the other hand, the NTC, on its website, claims that all tariff related recommendations have been sent to the Ministry.
It is to be noted that as per the Commerce Ministry, NTC besides enforcing and implementing trade defence laws, is mandated to advise the Commerce Ministry on tariff measures or other forms of assistance for providing protection to indigenous industry.
Moreover, the Ministry of Commerce has constituted six committees with representation of public and private sectors: these committees include, Regional Trade Committee on Agriculture Sector, Regional Trade Committee on Pharmaceutical Sector, Regional Trade Committee on Auto Sector, Regional Trade Committee on Textile Sector, Wagah Trade Committee on Agriculture and Wagah Trade Committee.
Similarly, the Directorate of Agriculture has been established in NTC, with the objective to provide protection to local agriculture sector through prompt application of trade defence measures in case of injury or threat of injury due to any import surge from India.
A Trade Monitoring Cells in the Ministry of Commerce and TDAP, Lahore have also been established. The Commission has levied anti-dumping duty @ 10.94% for a period of five years on 13-02-2011 on dumped imports of phthalic anhydride imported from India. No countervailing duty has been imposed so far on any goods imported from India
It is pertinent to note here that there has been a gradual increase in bilateral trade between the two countries. However, Pakistan maintains Negative List of trade with India which contains 1,209 items.
The said items are banned for imports from India to protect the local industry. Pakistan has been demanding that the issue of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB) be addressed to allow its exports to have adequate access to Indian market.
Moreover, both the sides, in a Commerce Ministers’ meeting held in New Delhi in January reached an understanding to normalize trade relations and provide Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) on reciprocal basis.
NDMA requires elimination of Negative List on Pakistan’s side and reduction of SAFTA Sensitive List from Indian side. The Joint Statement issued pursuant to this meeting is attached as Annex IL (c) Recent studies estimate the following benefits to accrue as a result of normalization of trade relations with India.