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Indian para tariffs, non-tariff barriers are denying market access to SAARC countries

Associated Press of Pakistan

Indian para tariffs, non-tariff barriers are denying market access to SAARC countries

22 March 2007

ISLAMABAD, Mar 22 (APP): Import Policy Regulations are provided in the import regimes of all SAARC countries and Pakistan had only indicated this requirement in its notification to make it transparent.

A Spokesman of Commerce Ministry while commenting on a news report appearing in a section of press said that just after the issuance of notification on July 1, 2006 to give tariff concessions under SAFTA Agreement, India agitated that tariff concessions offered by Pakistan were subject to the Import Policy Order of Pakistan and therefore against the spirit of SAFTA Agreement.

Pakistan contested the Indian point of view during the recently held meeting of SAFTA Ministerial Council and it rebutted the Indian point of view on the ground that such conditions were not mentioned by other SAARC countries in their respective notifications, did not imply that they had waived such conditions for trade within the region.

Pakistan had fully complied with its obligations under SAFTA and it is of the view that a large number of para tariffs and non-tariff barriers existing in the Trade Policy of India were denying market access to SAARC counties even after implementation of the SAFTA Agreement.

The governing principle of SAFTA Agreement enshrined in Article 3 of the Agreement clearly states that “SAFTA shall involve free movement of goods, between countries through, inter alia, the elimination of tariffs, para tariffs and non tariff restrictions on the movement of goods, and other equivalent measures”.

India, however, is clamoring for grant of MFN status by Pakistan and this issue pertains to WTO and the SAFTA Agreement does not contain any such provision. This Agreement is to be governed by the objectives and principles which are clearly stated in the body of the Agreement.

Although during the SAFTA Ministerial Council’s meeting of February, 2007, India had threatened to withdraw tariff concessions given to Pakistan by India under SAFTA Agreement.

Pakistan stuck to the view that in case it happens than it would not respond in the like manner and its resolve to pursue the objectives of the Agreement will remain in tact.