Lahore School of Economics

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WTO New Trade Facilitation Agreement: Implications for domestic trade policy formulation of Pakistan

Dr. Mohammad Saeed, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
(Paper presented by Ahmad Irfan Aslam)


Recognizing the significant contribution of trade facilitation in reducing costs and time in cross-border trade, the WTO Members adopted the new Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) during the last Ministerial Conference in Bali. WTO Members are now gearing themselves to implement the commitments ensuing from the TFA, in accordance with the special and differential treatment for developing countries.

This paper aims at assessing the impact of the new TFA on the national trade policy of Pakistan. Indeed, it points out how the process of policy formulation in Pakistan should be adjusted for the prompt and right implementation of the Agreement on a sustainable basis.

This paper begins with a brief introduction of the trade facilitation and provides a summary of the commitments arising from the TFA for WTO Members. The second part highlights how the TFA is perceived in the context of cost reduction and as a tool for development. The next part shows the current situation of Pakistan vis-à-vis the TFA and also offers a snapshot of different international TF indicators periodically published by the World Bank and World Economic Forum. The last part focuses on implications for domestic trade policy making in Pakistan while preparing for the categorization and implementation of the binding provisions in the TFA.

About the presenter:

Mohammad Saeed is Senior Technical Adviser on Trade and Transport Facilitation with Technology and Logistics branch of UNCTAD. He has vast experience of working on trade facilitation issues at national, regional and multilateral level. Prior to his current assignment, he was lead negotiator for Pakistan in WTO negotiations for future Trade Facilitation Agreement for six years.

International Trade law and Procedure is the area of his prime interest. He has also been Chairman of WTO Committee on Market Access for consecutive three years and Chairman of WTO Customs valuation Committee. He holds Masters in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and LLB from University of London. Besides having a postgraduate degree in Economics from University of London, he has his specialized training in International Trade Law from Harvard Law School.

Ahmad Irfan Aslam is a lawyer with specialization in International Trade and Investment Law. Since 2011 he has been working with the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the WTO where he has been responsible for negotiations on, among others, the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the plurilateral agreement on trade in services and the dispute settlement processes.

He is a visiting Fellow at Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University where he is researching international investment disputes and their impact on national trade and investment policies. Ahmad studied law at the Universities of Cambridge and London and holds an MA in international law and Economics from the World Trade Institute of the University of Bern.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3/26/2014 03:54:00 PM,

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