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Norway’s views on the trade policy of Pakistan

All WTO Members are subject to a peer review of their trade policies at regular intervals in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). Norway will be reviewed next in October 2008. Norway also participates in the review of other Members – here is the intervention held regarding Pakistan’s trade policy on 16 January 2008.

Mr. Chairman,
On behalf of the Norwegian delegation I too would like to extend a warm welcome the delegation of Pakistan, headed by Federal Minister Monoo, to Geneva for the 3rd review of Pakistan’s trade policy. We commend the Pakistani Government and the Secretariat for their solid documentation. We also thank Minister Monoo for his comprehensive introduction and Ambassador Tan for her valuable contribution as discussant.
The overall economic performance of Pakistan since its previous Trade Policy Review in 2002 is impressive.  Continued economic reforms based on privatisation, regulatory reform and liberalization, accompanied by transparency measures, have proven a good formula for growth. GDP growth of 7% in 2006/2007 and unemployment at 6,2% at the end of 2006 are figures demonstrating that Pakistan is among the best economic performers in the region. Meanwhile, some challenges remain. Inflation rates have risen and are reaching potentially problematic levels, and there are still issues to be solved as regards poverty reduction and income inequality, although positive tendencies can be observed also in this area. 
As regards the investment climate, Pakistan remains a very attractive destination for FDI, which is largely due to recent reforms.  The removal of barriers to foreign investment has triggered an increase of FDI in services sectors which are essential for continued economic growth as Pakistan develops. The telecom sector, where there is considerable Norwegian investment, is a case in point, as is the financial services industry. For this positive trend to continue, it is imperative that the risk associated with political uncertainty is reduced. We trust that the forthcoming election will be decisive in this respect.
Pakistan has benefited considerably from liberalizing its trade regime, and trade has been further facilitated in many areas since the last Trade Policy Review. In this respect the measures undertaken to streamline customs procedures, to cut and bind tariffs, and to upgrade the framework for IPR protection, are certainly welcome.
Pakistan is an active and constructive participant in the DDA negotiations. This is amply demonstrated by Ambassador Ahmad and his active team here in Geneva.
Pakistan also pursues a parallel course of negotiating free trade agreements, as a complement to the multilateral track. Norway and the other EFTA States have started discussions with Pakistan to investigate how trade and investment relations can be expanded for mutual benefit. We look forward to continued close cooperation with Pakistan.
Finally Mr. Chairman, I wish the delegation of Pakistan a successful TPR.

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