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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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$2 billion rice export at stake


Islamabad: Pakistan’s failure to block Indian proposal of subsidized production of crops has made the situation worse for farming community in Pakistan.

The country’s rice producers, struggling to fetch a fair price, were particularly upset as WTO deal in Bali has put export of $2 billion worth of rice at stake.

“The current government, led by industrialist leader failed to demonstrate sensitivity to the problems being faced by growers. The representation of the country was weak as Pakistan’s delegation was led by country’s permanent representative at WTO in place of the commerce minister.”

“It paved way for India to push through and get approval to their subsidy package at the ministerial. All negotiations were left to the US delegation, which was focused on trade facilitation with little concern for Pakistani farmer’s interests who would lose owing to subsidized Indian production of staple crops, like rice, wheat, cereals etc,” Mr Malhi said.

He complained that Pakistan’s ambassador to WTO Geneva Shahid Bashir, was preoccupied with his chairmanship of the General Council of the WTO rather than looking after Pakistan’s interests as its ambassador.

“There was a complete disconnect between delegates from Islamabad and members of Pakistan delegation who came from Geneva,” Malhi said, pointing out that Geneva office of Permanent Trade representative did not inform the rice stakeholders when the G-33 proposal was evolved at initial stages.

Pakistan’s delegation did not even try to insert Pakistani farmers concerns in the final agreement.

He further added that he will be writing a protest letter to the prime minister.

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