Technical Barriers to Trade Need to Be Addressed Irfan Iqbal Sheikh

Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has said that Pakistan should endeavor to eliminate technical barriers to trade (TBT) under the guidelines of World Trade Organization (WTO) and Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) should strengthened to help accelerate the growth in exports and open the doors of export markets for Pakistani exporters.

Mr. Suleman Chawla, SVP FPCCI, apprised the session that awareness and trainings on technical requirements & standards are critical to adhere to increase Pakistani products and compete on a truly global-scale.

Director General of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority, Zain-ul-Abideen, during his visit to FPCCI informed the business community of the global obligations of World Trade Organization related to technical barriers to trade and agreed that both the bodies need to develop interactive & effective partnership in this regard.

DG PSQCA informed the participants that tariff and technical barriers to trade were simultaneously applied in regulating trade and manufacturing sectors to produce and sell quality goods against value of supply by the consumers; who are the actual source of generating economy.

He suggested that FPCCI, being the apex trade body representing private-sector of the country, should form interactive groups for negotiating facilitation for stakeholders to be extended by regulatory framework of PSQCA in order to be not only compliant towards the requirements of standards; but, as well as, manifest the service to consumers in the most valuable manner

PSQCA Chief fully appreciated the demand of FPCCI Vice President, Engr. M. A. Jabbar & Mr. Khurram Ejaz, Director, Pakistan Single Window (PSW), to facilitate digitalization of TBT-related clearances by PSQCA through PSW. Mr. Khurram Ejaz also extended his full support from the platform of PSW for better & efficient integration.

He responded to the demand of Engr. M. A. Jabbar that PSQCA was moving towards bonding of digitalization of the system between PSQCA and PSW for fast trade clearance of general declaration of the customs in clearing the requirements of mandatory standards; which were answerable to assurance of quality of goods – whether imported, manufactured or serviced locally.

DGPSQCA added that, as the regulatory body, the institution had emerged out of the obligations of WTO and one of its packages were TBT; and, PSQCA is officially accredited as inquiry point for WTO to continuously update awareness in respect of international obligations and standards.

He said that he also agrees with FPCCI that the difference in identical and similar goods be demarcated and identified through more than eight digits of HS codes; which presently are also issued by the customs valuation to help in removing misunderstandings. He patiently listened to the demands of the stakeholders for reducing marking fee cost towards higher compliance in the mutual interest for due consideration and further discussion.

DG PSQCA promised that racket of selling fake, counterfeit and unhygienic mineral water sale in the urban district centers and rural areas will be dealt in association with and support of provincial governments; who have also now become proactive in the interest of safety of people.

The participants raised questions of pending clearance of 74 goods declarations filed; awaiting TBT clearance from PSQCA causing hardships and encroachment upon the ease of doing business – which was responded by promised position to clear it on urgent basis.

DG PSQCA offered FPCCI to identify prominent people in trade and manufacturing goods to join technical committees on standards; so that, cooperation sustains to have workable relationship between FPCCI and PSQCA.

Engr. M. A. Jabbar, while paying vote of thanks, said that our continued interactions is the way forward for resolving all the issues; and, it will also result in an enhanced confidence of businessmen in the institution of PSQCA.

Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.

Secretary General