Pakistan is one of the founder Members of the WTO since 1995, and its predecessor organization the GATT set up in 1948. We are following an export led growth strategy and as such market access is of vital importance for our businesses. The increase in preferential arrangements and free trade areas between some members is also eroding our market access. Therefore in order to maintain current markets and gain new ones for our exportable goods and services we are dependent on the WTO to get tariff and non tariff barriers lowered on an MFN basis. Such MFN liberalization effectively levels the playing field for competitive suppliers.
Pakistan has been actively engaged in the Doha round of trade talks that were launched in the Qatari capital in November 2001. Aptly named the "Doha Development Agenda" (DDA), this round of trade talks has been focusing on removing distortions in the world agriculture markets and attaining enhanced market access for both products and service providers from Pakistan.
Since 2001, there have two more ministerial conferences in Cancun in 2003 and Hong Kong in 2005 respectively. There have been many ups and downs in the road to a successful conclusion to the Doha round that takes into account the myriad interests of the developing membership. There was a breakdown of talks in the summer of 2006 which led many observers to be skeptical of the entire process. However, sustained efforts by the membership led to a partial resumption of the talks in November 2006 and full resumption since January 2007 after the annual meeting of the World economic forum at Davos.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a multilateral organization whose objective is to help trade flow smoothly, freely, fairly and predictably. It does this by acting as a forum for trade negotiations, settling trade disputes and assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through technical assistance and training programmes.
(Link to the WTO website