Pakistan Forms Committee to Condone Foreign Trade Restrictions

Pakistan Forms Committee to Condone Foreign Trade Restrictions

Karachi, April 4, 2024 – Pakistan has taken a significant step in addressing foreign trade restrictions by constituting a committee of federal ministers to assess and potentially condone such limitations on a case-by-case basis.

The decision, announced through a notification issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday, aims to streamline import and export processes and provide a mechanism for addressing grievances related to trade regulations.

The move comes in the wake of the federal cabinet’s approval during its meeting on March 20, 2024, to establish a committee tasked with evaluating and potentially mitigating import or export-related prohibitions and restrictions outlined in the Import and Export Policy Orders of 2022. Additionally, the committee will be responsible for overseeing appeals filed under Section 21 of the Trade Organization Act of 2013.

The committee, chaired by the Minister of Commerce, comprises key members including the Minister for Law and Justice and the Minister for Industries and Production. This composition reflects a multi-sectoral approach aimed at ensuring comprehensive consideration of trade-related issues from legal, commercial, and industrial perspectives.

According to the notification, the Ministry of Commerce will extend secretariat support to facilitate the committee’s functioning, indicating a concerted effort to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in addressing trade-related matters. This secretariat support is expected to provide the necessary administrative assistance for the smooth operation of the committee, including logistical and procedural support for hearings and deliberations.

The establishment of this committee marks a proactive approach by the Pakistani government to address challenges and barriers hindering foreign trade activities. By enabling a mechanism for the review and potential condonation of trade restrictions on a case-by-case basis, Pakistan aims to promote a more conducive environment for international trade, fostering economic growth and development.

Foreign trade plays a pivotal role in Pakistan’s economy, contributing significantly to GDP growth, employment generation, and overall prosperity. However, trade regulations and restrictions, whether imposed for regulatory, security, or economic reasons, can sometimes impede the smooth flow of goods and services across borders, hampering trade activities and economic progress.

Therefore, the formation of this committee underscores the government’s commitment to facilitating trade by providing a transparent and accountable mechanism for addressing trade-related grievances and challenges. By offering avenues for stakeholders to appeal against restrictive trade measures and seek their mitigation or condonation, Pakistan aims to enhance its competitiveness in the global marketplace and attract foreign investment.

Furthermore, the committee’s mandate to evaluate trade restrictions on a case-by-case basis reflects a nuanced approach that acknowledges the diverse nature of trade-related issues. This approach enables the committee to consider the specific circumstances surrounding each case and make informed decisions that balance regulatory requirements with the needs of businesses and the broader economy.

As Pakistan strives to position itself as a hub for regional trade and investment, initiatives such as the establishment of this committee signal the government’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment conducive to trade and economic growth. Moving forward, stakeholders will closely monitor the committee’s activities and decisions, assessing their impact on trade facilitation and economic development in the country.