Daily Times, Pakistan
Industry suggests Pak auto NTBs on Indian goods
* Pak-India should allow transfer of tech through JVs, technical assistance agreements
29 November 2011
LAHORE: Following the expected Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India by Pakistan, PAAPAM says both the countries should allow transfer of technology through joint ventures and technical assistance agreements, making the regional industry competitive, say auto industry experts while talking to journalists here on Monday.
They proposed imposition of ‘Pakistan’s Automotive Non Tariff Barriers’ like Pakistan’s Vehicle Safety Standards, Pakistan’s Vehicle Quality Standards and Pakistan’s Vehicle Logistics and Trade Standards etc.
“However, this can only be possible through capacity building, including human resource development and availability of vehicle testing equipment’s, of government agencies like Ministry of Science and Technology, Engineering Development Board and Ministry of Industries and Production,” they added. The National Tariff Commission and The Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority can both play an active role if their capacities are built.
Auto industry experts said that that presently the automotive Industry is ill prepared and not taking any initiative for preparing and legalising NTB’s for their sector. The government as usual is perhaps not interested in playing its role in NTB Legal Frame Work set-up.
Information available on the website of the Pakistan Commerce Ministry and its quick comparison with the Indian Counterpart shows the understanding level of our policy makers.
PAAPAM Chairman Syed Nabeel Hashmi, while talking to a select group of media said that there are Pakistan-specific barriers in place. These include lack of infrastructure at ports of entry, bureaucratic and administrative mishandling, visa restrictions and surveillance of visitors to India, banking limitations and restrictive trade routes.
On the Pakistan side, he said that they have a wide loop in evaluation at shipping ports, under invoicing and misdeclaration are some of the major concerns that if addressed, would have given some sort of confidence to local industry. “NTB’s even if enacted do not play any role if you have porous Shipping ports,” he added. He asked the government to consider the fact that the auto industry contributes 6 percent of total FBR collection, 1.4 million Pakistanis are earning their livelihood through the industry, Automobile Industry constitutes 15 percent of large-scale industry and has second largest investment after energy sector in Pakistan. Therefore, the government should always restrict auto parts and automobile imports in all their international agreements and commitments, it is already included in its Negative List for Afghan Transit Trade Agreement of 1965, also in the Appendix G for restricting trade of such items from India, and also in the ‘Sensitive List’ for South Asian Free Trade Area [SAFTA]. Sensitive List under SAFTA means allowable imports with ‘No tariff concession.’
PAAPAM chairman has agreed that neither the industry of the country nor the government is educated enough. “We are being told to learn the tricks of the WTO but even with NTM’s or NTB’s in place, who is going to correct the faulty import regime of Pakistan,” he questioned. “We have porous borders and import regimes that allow valuation and clearance of High Tech engine parts by weight. What would NTB’s do there?”