The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has agreed to provide technical assistance to Pakistani growers and exporters on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regime.
According to a senior official of Ministry of Commerce one issue which cropped up in all key meetings of DG with Commerce Ministry, exporters from private sector and CM Punjab were difficulties being faced by Pakistani exporters in export of rice, mango and citrus due to Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures applied by different importing countries.
Roberto Azevedo the Director General WTO who recently visited Islamabad and Lahore offered to provide technical assistance for capacity building of government agencies, growers/farmers and exporters in SPS regime so that they can developed their products as per standards required by importers . The technical assistance will be for building the knowledge base of domestic stakeholders and also for formulating a designing a long term project to address SPS issues.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to WTO Dr Tauqir told this correspondent that first workshop/ seminar of national level through WTO technical assistance for officials , growers and exporters from all provinces will be held in September in partnership with Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Food Security; provincial governments’representatives will also be invited. WTO has offered to send it global SPS experts for the activity. This is immediate tangible outcome of the DG WTO visit.
According to sources, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting with the DG WTO highlighted the importance of trade facilitation measurers which if implemented by the national governments, may save considerable time and money. DGWTO was also apprised that Pakistan is already very much compliant with WTO””s TFA and enhanced measurers are being taken to facilitate trade in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is eagerly waiting for the TFA to come into effect so that it can reap more and more benefits of it being a developing country,” the sources added.
DG WTO has also been ensured that relevant institutions in Pakistan are working on to bring about a mechanism as to how to phase out the current SRO regime which is undoubtedly a trade disporting measure.
By taking benefits of the provisions available in the WTO system, Pakistan is also working on carrying out regional and bilateral trade agreements with various countries.
The sources further stated that Pakistan is engaged in consultation process to reach the conclusion whether to join or not to joint WTO’s Plurilateral Information Technology Agreement, adding that positive outcome in this regard is expected.
Pakistan, sources said, believes that Public Stockholding Proposal in its current form already has serious adverse unintended consequences the country’s economy.
“We emphatically share the imperative to feed the hungry and assist the vulnerable but not at the cost of livelihoods of millions of poor subsistence farmers. We hope that any permanent solution would not be at the cost of small farmers regardless of their geographical location,” the sources added.
Source: Business Recorder