Granting Most Favored Nation (MFN)/ Non discriminatory Market Access(NDMA) status to India

ISSUE


India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 and the process of reciprocating the same started in 2011 when cabinet unanimously decided to grant the much debated status to India. This decision, however, raised serious concerns among the local industries especially agriculture, pharmaceutical, poultry and auto sectors because Pakistan, despite being an MFN for India, has not been able to penetrate the Indian market owing to the intelligently placed restrictive NTBs and para-tariff which are efficiently protecting India’s domestic industries. Local Industrialists believed that granting MFN or NDMA without erecting similar barriers will cripple them, possibly forcing them to close down their businesses altogether.

ROLE OF THE PASSAGE


As the problem was directly linked to the national interest, “The Passage” addressed this challenge with great zeal and determination. An aggressive approach, which comprised of independent news stories and articles, was adopted to highlight the disparities that existed in the dynamics of different sectors including pharmaceutical, auto, agriculture and poultry, of both countries. Moreover, it was also brought under the limelight that Pakistan lacked the necessary infrastructure and the proper regulatory environment (shortcomings of NTC and PSQCA) which makes exporting products to India and checking the quality of imports from India insurmountable challenge.

OUTCOME


The Passage successfully managed to gain attention of the concerned authorities through strategic and constant feeding of information to the right media. The efforts proved fruitful as the Ministry of Commerce was forced to not only identify agriculture, auto, textile, and pharmaceutical as vulnerable sectors but also decided to keep these industries’ products in the sensitive list which would provide protection through the prevailing rate of custom duty.