KARACHI: Pakistan is considering appealing the ruling of a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel that ruled in favor of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month in a case that sought cancelation of anti-dumping duties imposed on the import of polypropylene, according to a senior Pakistani official at the National Tariff Commission.
The NTC, Pakistan’s anti-dumping authority, imposed duties on the import of Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) in 2013 at the rate of 29.70 percent on one UAE company, Taghleef Industries, and 57.09 percent on the rest of UAE exporters.
“The government could decide to go for a review within the next couple of months,” the NTC official said, but declined to be named due to the legal sensitivities involved in the matter.
The decision was taken after the authority conducted its investigations in 2010 and 2012 on the request of Tri-Pack Films Limited, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan and Packages Limited of Pakistan, which claimed that various foreign exporters, including UAE companies, were dumping the product in Pakistan.
“The Arbitration Panel of the Dispute Settlement Body, World Trade Organization, issued its final report on the dispute filed to cancel the anti-dumping duties imposed by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the UAE exports of polypropylene tape and roll products,” the UAE Ministry of Economy said in a Twitter post on Thursday.
In January 2018, the UAE sought consultations with Pakistani authorities within the WTO framework. The talks were held in March 2018, but the dispute could not be resolved.
Subsequently, the UAE requested the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to establish a panel to look into the issue.
Several countries, including Japan, China, Russia, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and the United States, notified their interest in participating in the panel proceedings as third parties.
The panel in its ruling concluded that Pakistan’s measures were inconsistent with various articles of the anti-dumping agreement.
“We recommend that Pakistan bring its measures in conformity with its obligations under the Anti-Dumping Agreement,” the panel recommended in its report issued on January 18, 2021.
“Because of the fundamental nature and pervasiveness of the inconsistencies we have found, we suggest that Pakistan implement our recommendation by withdrawing the anti-dumping measures it has imposed on BOPP film from the United Arab Emirates. We decline however to suggest that Pakistan refund the anti-dumping duties already paid,” the report concluded.
Legal experts say the verdict also provides an opportunity to Pakistan.
“We believe that the settlement of this dispute is in favor of Pakistan as well,” Salman Farooq, who works with an Islamabad-based anti-dumping legal consulting firm, told Arab News.
“The National Tariff Commission has now received guidelines on various matters, including how to conduct inquiries and which loopholes to plug while carrying out future investigations.”
He added that the decision would force the NTC to improve its professional practices.
“It seems like a temporary loss to Pakistan, but it is in the long-term interests of the country since it will bring more transparency to its international trade,” Farooq continued.
“This outcome is good for both countries since transparency determines rules of the game which, in turn, increase bilateral trade. This specific development should therefore be seen as an opportunity to further increase trade,” he said.
Meanwhile, UAE officials said they hoped the ruling would enhance the flow of polypropylene exports to Pakistan.
“This provision enhances the flow of national polypropylene exports to the Pakistani market and contributes toward supporting the petrochemical sector in the country [the UAE] and enhancing its contribution to the non-oil GDP,” said Abdullah Sultan Alfan Alshamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Commercial Remedies Sector, according to the Ministry of Economy.