ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is facing a stifling balance of payments (BoP) crisis and is struggling to cope with the situation both economically and socially, Trade Minister Naveed Qamar told the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (MC12) in Geneva.
Mr. Qamar is representing Pakistan at MC12, which is being held June 12-15 in Switzerland. The conference was scheduled to take place in late 2021, but was postponed due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The Minister of Commerce informed the conference that the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath have triggered a wave of additional difficulties and challenges for Pakistan. The minister read a written statement outlining Pakistan’s position, a copy of which was shared with the media.
Coupled with the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and the impending food crisis, he said the problem had caused significant “unrest in my country”.
“At the same time, I think we should focus on building back better and smarter,” he added.
For this, the minister hinted that he finds it absolutely essential that effective policy space remains available for countries like Pakistan to advance modern digital, technological and industrial growth.
Food security looms as another major challenge, especially for countries like Pakistan, he said. The issue will, if not already, be confronted more acutely with this organization and its members in the coming days, he added.
The Minister said that Pakistan is convinced that to ensure food security in the world, the appropriate policy tools must remain at the disposal of the members, especially those necessary to improve the production, productivity and dissemination of food to segments wider population.
Pakistan has always remained an active member of the WTO. “We strongly believe in the benefits of maintaining the fundamental principles of the multilateral trading system, especially at a time when it is facing some of its greatest challenges both for this organization and for the concept of multilateralism as we have it. understood for a long time,” Qamar said. said further.
He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment, in all the reforms we undertake, to strengthening the pillars that underpin the multilateral system, in particular consensus-based decision-making; continued emphasis on development, including special and differential treatment for developing countries, and a fully functional two-tier dispute settlement system.
The official announcement from the Ministry of Commerce said that Mr. Qamar stressed the need for the WTO to maintain the fundamental pillars of the Marrakesh agreement of consensus decision-making, special and differential treatment for developing countries. development and a fully functional two-tier dispute. settlement mechanism.
The Minister underlined the need for the major funders to take the greatest responsibility for saving the fish under the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.
On the sidelines, Mr. Qamar also stressed the need for a solution to the growing problems of food security and agricultural productivity during the G33 and Cairns group ministerial meetings.
The minister in the country’s position paper highlighted emerging realities such as environmental degradation, high inflation, worsening inequality and food shortages, coupled with the severe inequity in Covid vaccine availability and the a general lack of diagnostic and therapeutic capacity, have exacerbated the severity of these challenges in the developing world.
Posted in Dawn, June 14, 2022