Businessmen should aware of WTO rules to safeguard business, speakers

LAHORE: The business community must be fully aware of WTO Rules and equipped with various instruments available to safeguard their business interests against dumping.

This was the crux of the presentations and speeches delivered at a seminar on Trade Defence Instruments and Level playing organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with WTO Cell of the provincial Industry Department.

The seminar, presided over by the LCCI Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, was also addressed by the Secretary Industries Dr Shujaat Ali, Nasir Rafique, Chief WTO, IC&I Department, Director General National Tariff Commission NTC Muhammad Abdul Khaliq, Deputy Director NTC Muhammad Arshad and Convener LCCI Standing Committee on WTO Jamil A. Naz.

The Secretary Industries Dr. Shujat Ali said that trade & commerce play pivotal role in economics development of a country and is rightly considered as engine of economic growth. He pointed out that in the present scenario, unfair trade practices have increased considerably and to counter such practices, provision of laws under WTO Agreement should be followed in letter and spirit.

LCCI Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that it is prime responsibility of the government to ensure that domestic industry should survive at every cost. Therefore, all such practices that go against domestic industry must be checked at initial stages with the help of various exemptions provided by WTO. He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry would continue to extend cooperation to all stakeholders for solution of problems being faced by the local/domestic industry in present era. He was of the view that due to reduction in tariff, domestic industry is facing increased competition from imports and they should prepare themselves to counter these problems with knowledge and unity.

Muhammad Abdul Khaliq, D.G. National Tariff Commission NTC informed that NTC was established in 1990 under the National Tariff Commission Act, 1990. NTC has mandate to advise the government on matters relating to protection and assistance to domestic industry and promoting export from Pakistan.

He further informed that sufficient legislation had already been made by the Pakistan to provide maximum safeguard to domestic industry.

Muhammad Arshad, Deputy Director, NTC threw light on “Antidumping duties Ordinance, 2000” and “Countervailing duties Ordinance 2001” that have been framed by the government to protect local industry from unfair trade by the exporters. He informed that antidumping application is processed within period of 12th months and provincial antidumping duty can be imposed after sixty days of initiation of the investigation. This duty may be imposed for a period which may be extended up to five years. Moreover, pre application counselling section of NTC is also available for guidance and assistance in this regard.

Similarly, application for countervailing duty investigation can be made by or on behalf of domestic industry, which is being injured due to subsidized imports. Consequently, NTC can make provincial determination and impose a provisional countervailing duty no sooner than 60 days of the initiation of investigation for a period of 4 months, if NTC feels necessary.

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