The apex body of WTO, the Ministerial conferences has a mandate to meet at least once every two years in order to strengthen the political guidance of WTO and enhance the prominence and credibility of its rules. Four ministerial conferences have been held till now and fifth one is scheduled for September 10-14 this year.
Doha Round of negotiations include critical issues such as production subsidies to Agriculture, TRIPs/Geographical Indications, access to generic medicines in case of public health crisis, requests/offers for services sector, antidumping agreement, revision and dispute settlement negotiations, market access to nonagricultural products. Special and Differential treatment of developing countries.
Though deadlines for reaching agreement on modalities for negotiations on most of the issues have been missed but still hopes are alive and these matters would be taken up at the forthcoming Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico.
As a member of the WTO, Pakistan is committed to fulfilling TRIPs obligations. Copyrights piracy is considered very high, affecting imported computer software, videos, films and textile designs. Pakistan like developing countries was given deadline of January1, 2000 (i.e. five year period) to bring into conformity with the WTO commitment. List copyrights laws etc. Pakistan is not yet fully ready to implement its commitment.
In Pakistan, five laws/amendments have been promulgated, to provide intellectual property protection under WTO standards.
In Industrial economies, intellectual property laws are regulated under a single umbrella organization to reduce the regulatory impediments that discouraged entrepreneurs from compliance with regulations. In Pakistan, all three areas (Copyrights, trademarks and patents) are managed separately by different federal ministries, i.e. Ministry of Education (copyrights), Ministry of commerce (trademarks) and Ministry of Industries & Production (Patents). There is urgency for enforcement of the laws promulgated regarding infringement of IPRs for which necessary rules should be farmed and notified a priority basis.
In economics, "dumping" can refer to any kind of predatory pricing. However, the word is now generally used only in the context of international trade law, where dumping is defined as the act of a manufacturer in one country exporting a product to another country at an unfairly low price.
A penalty charge on imports to protect domestic industry against disruptive pricing practices by foreign firms (see dumping). An antidumping duty is supposed to be set equal to the margin of dumping, defined as the difference between fair value and the actual sales price. GATT Article 6 permits members to levy antidumping duties, while the GATT Antidumping Code attempts to standardize and discipline importing governments' activities in this area. See also circumvention and injury test.
During recent years, Pakistan’s exports especially of textile and clothing have been subjected to anti-dumping and safeguard measures in Japan, EU and USA. EU is presently investigating a dumping case against Pakistan bed-linen exporters.
There is prima facie evidence that cases of imposition of ANTI Dumping Duties (ADDs) against different sub-sectors of the textile industry have been registered in orde4r to protect jobs of textile industries of developed countries. This is seriously impacting on Pakistan’s economy. Even in cases where investigations do not lead to eventual imposition of definitive ADDs, trade is disrupted in the interim period and valuable customers are lost.
Given the backdrop of increasing anti-dumping measures against our exports, we need to implement anti dumping measures to protect domestic industry against the onslaught of unfair competition. In this context, following ordinances have been promulgated in Pakistan;
To meet the requirements of WTO Agreements on Technical Barriers of Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS), Pakistan has taken a number of key initiatives aimed at strengthening technical institutions capabilities in standard setting, compliance.
In Pakistan, ISO9000 – and ISO14000 certification is rising and reportedly now well over 3,000 companies are ISO 9000 certified. as for ISO 14000 certifications, out of a total of 103 countries, Pakistan ranks 56th with only ten ISO 14001 certified firms while India is 19th. All these companies are certified by foreign based bodies. The problem with foreign certification bodies is that notwithstanding the fact that they are accredited by reputable accreditation bodies, very few have been listed for surveillance audits in Pakistan. This greatly reflects on the performance of these certification bodies.
Against this backdrop, Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC) was set up in 1998 in Ministry of Science & Technology and in 1999, under ADB-assisted Trade Export Promotion & Industry Program (TEPI). Project, it launched the accreditation services for ISO 9000/ISO 14000 certification bodies and ISO-17025 laboratory certification.
According to Pakistan Country Report on Trade and Sustainable Development, prepared by Sustainable Development Policy Institutes (SDPI), in October 2002, the TBT and SPS agreements present both an opportunity and constraints. The two agreements seek to increase market access for the exports of its member countries. However, the prerequisite is that they abide by the strict rules the WTO has formulated for the development of mandatory technical regulations, voluntary standards and conformity assessment procedures. This is where developing countries like Pakistan come up short. They do not possess the institutional and technical capacity to develop, advocate and formalize such standards in WTO for a, nor the conformity assessment and accreditation bodies to certify that domestic industries are complying with international standards. While the WTO, in principle, offers technical assistance to developing countries to develop these capabilities, the concern expressed by various stakeholders suggest that Pakistan has not tapped into these opportunities.