While Islamabad, after its decision of awarding most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, is trying to finalise the negative list, Pakistani pharmaceutical companies have expedited their efforts to convince the government for banning imports of finished medicines from India.
In its scheduled special committee meeting to be held in Karachi on November 23, Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (PPMA) will give a detailed presentation and discuss the industry’s concerns and reservations about open trade with India, PPMA Chairman Muhammad Asad informed The Express Tribune.
A delegation of PPMA has already met with the Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim in Islamabad on Thursday, Asad said, adding that the latter had assured the government will protect the industry while finalising the negative list. The commerce ministry is likely to finalise the negative list by February next year, he added. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has formed sector-specific committees, headed by Secretary Commerce Zafar Mahmood to give thoughtful consideration to the reservations of local industries before finalising the negative list.
PPMA Vice Chairman Tariq Ikram will represent the association, while the secretary TDAP will chair the meeting, Asad said. After listening to the concerns of PPMA, he added, the committee will prepare a report and recommend whether or not the pharma industry should be included in the negative list.
PPMA, in a recent hand out had expressed its reservations on free trade in the pharma industry, and imports of finished medicines in particular. Local pharmaceuticals, third largest industry and the seventh largest industrial based exports, the handout said meet 90% of the country’s requirement. To protect this industry of Rs200 billion, Asad said, finished medicines should be put in the negative list.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2011.
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