WTO lauds Pakistan for openness to trade

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New Delhi, Jan 17 (UNI) The World Trade Organisation has lauded Pakistan for its impressive economic growth by attributing it to relatively open trade and investment regimes, sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms that have also contributed to lower unemployment and reduced poverty.

In a report on the trade policies and practices of Pakistan as part of its trade policy review, WTO secretariat today said the country's trade liberalisation has resulted in noticeable improvements in customs procedures, considerable reduction of tariff protection and widening of the scope of tariff bindings, giving more predictability to the trade regime.

But the review, third since Pakistan became a member of the global trade body in January 1995, said despite these improvements, a complex tariff structure remains in place in some sectors.

However,protection of intellectual property rights has been strengthened, the report added.

The WTO pointed out that Pakistan still lag behind in export diversification and was depending heavily on textiles and clothing, which account for two thirds of its total exports. This sector now faces stronger competition in major markets. Also, State involvement in certain activities like engineering and key services persists.

The 3-day review, which concludes tomorrow, said continued trade liberalisation and other productivity-boosting structural reforms to address bottlenecks, excessive regulatory controls and labour market rigidities would help improve Pakistan's international competitiveness and the prospects for sustainable economic growth.

UNI SAA MP AS1311

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