ISLAMABAD - Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Monday said Pakistan has already undertaken to eliminate all discriminatory SROs granting tax exemptions by the end of the Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

He said that in fiscal year 2013-2014 Pakistan abolished tax exemptions and concessionary SROs worth over 1 billion US dollars. In addition, legislation to ensure a permanent ban on SRO’s in under draft.

He made these remarks during a seminar on Pakistan’s Trade Policy Review (TPR) in World Trade Organization in Geneva. This was the fourth trade policy review. Twenty four member states representing over 2/3rds of the WTO membership participated in Pakistan’s TPR, which was a clear sign of the world’s interest in Pakistan as a trading nation. In the process, Pakistan responded to over 200 questions posed on Pakistan’s policies impacting trade. Pakistan welcomed the comments and feedback from the WTO members and continues on the path of reform that the present government has undertaken.

Federal Minster for Commerce, engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan was the chief guest at the event. Deputy Director General of WTO Fredrick Agah also attended the event. The meeting was informed that the Trade Policy Review mechanism itself is an invaluable tool for the members of the WTO which not only ensures transparency but this peer review also encourages countries to re-evaluate their national policies and ultimately contribute towards a fairer international trading environment. Ministry of Commerce was of the view that the TPR was an opportunity to share Pakistan’s challenges and efforts to implement Pakistan’s trade commitments, its struggles to balance public policies, actions taken towards our domestic regime as well as the multilateral trading system.

The minister for commerce said that in several areas such as trade and environment, trade and labour force laws, trade remedy laws, the efficient settlement of trade disputes between foreign and local businesses, tariff rationalization, Pakistan has made numerous efforts and taken on novel obligations to ensure that Pakistan is fit and ready to engage as a front-row country in international trade.

He said that Pakistan has recently reclaimed 625 Million USD worth of market access in a top export market through a bloodless victory through the WTOs dispute settlement system. Without this system, this effort and success would have been monumentally difficult, he added. The Minister hoped that the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi at the end of this year will prove to be a great success and expressed his belief that WTO is the only forum which can maintain equality of opportunity for all trading nations, including millions of resource-poor farmers in Pakistan.