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Trade with Indonesia

Islamabad: Pakistan needs to terminate investigations against alleged dumping of Indonesian products immediately or prepare to fight out the issue at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where odds are said to be loaded against it.

A WTO trade expert believes that Pakistan has little choice but to comply with the Indonesian request within specified period (by Jan 26, 2014) to settle the dispute with Jakarta.

In case of failure, the case will be referred to WTO’s dispute settlement body for constitution of a panel of judges to initiate case proceedings requiring Pakistan to hire attorney to represent it.

In a formal letter sent to Pakistan’s mission in Geneva for consultations on Nov 27, 2013, Indonesia said it “believes that this failure to terminate the case in absence of concluding evidence against its products is in violation of Article 5.10 of the Anti-dumping agreement and article 11.11 of the Countervailing measure agreement which requires to terminate investigation no later than 18 months after the date of initiation”.

It further says as a result of this failure to conclude or terminate the investigations timely, Pakistan’s conduct is also inconsistent with several other provisions of the WTO agreements.

The diplomatic source said Pakistan has neither issued a final determination nor terminated the investigation after 23 months of the initiation of the investigation.

Indonesia launched the dispute at WTO last month against Pakistan over alleged trade restrictions, first ever such complaint against Islamabad.

A formal letter was sent to Pakistan’s mission in Geneva for consultations on Nov 27, 2013 over the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations of paper products from Indonesia, the source said.

Ironically, the development came at a time when Pakistan was given duty reduction on more than 313 items on import from Indonesia from Sept 1, 2013 under the preferential trade agreement (PTA).This agreement was concluded after 10 years of negotiations.

Jakarta’s main demand from Islamabad was to reduce duty on its palm oil and bring it at par with Malaysian oil. Pakistan initiated anti-dumping investigation and a countervailing duty investigation on imports of writing/printing paper from Indonesia on Nov 10 and 23, 2011 respectively on request of local manufacturers.

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