LAHORE - Following the granting of MFN status to India by Pakistan, both the countries should allow transfer of technology through joint ventures and technical assistance agreements, making the regional industry competitive, say auto sector experts. They proposed imposition of 'Pakistans Automotive Non Tariff Barriers like Pakistans Vehicle Safety Standards, Pakistans Vehicle Quality Standards and Pakistans Vehicle Logistics & Trade Standards etc. However, this can only be possible through capacity building, including human resource development and availability of vehicle testing equipments, of government agencies like Ministry of Science & Technology, Engineering Development Board and Ministry of Industries & Production, they added. PAAPAM Chairman Nabeel Hashmi, while talking to The Nation, said that there were Pakistan-specific barriers, including lack of infrastructure at ports of entry, bureaucratic and administrative mishandling, visa restrictions and surveillance of visitors to India, banking limitations and restrictive trade routes. He said that loopholes in evaluation at ports, under invoicing and mis-declaration are some of the major concerns which if addressed, would have given some sort of confidence to local industry. He asked the government to consider the fact that the industry contributes 5 percent of total FBR collection; 1.4 million Pakistanis are earning their livelihood through the industry; automobile industry constitutes 15 percent of large scale industry and has second largest investment after energy sector in Pakistan. Therefore, government always restricted automobile imports in all their international agreements and commitments e.g. it is included in Negative List of Afghan Transit Trade Agreement of 1965; included in Appendix G for restricting trade of such items from India; and it is also considered while preparing 'Sensitive List for South Asian Free Trade Area [SAFTA]. Sensitive List under SAFTA means allowable imports with 'No tariff concession. Pakistan is producing just 20 percent of current automobile in India. During 2010-11, India manufactured 2.50 million cars, 12.671 million motorcycles, 0.548 million tractors, 0.799 million rickshaws, 0.548 million tractors, 0.408 million light commercial vehicles, 0.318 million multi utility vehicles [means ambulances, television communication vans etc.], 0.344 million buses & trucks [Source: www.acmainfo.com] whereas Pakistan is producing 0.119 million cars, 0.034 million LCVs, 0.003 million buses & trucks, 0.070 million tractors, 0.8 million motorcycles and just 0.015 million rickshaws. Furthermore, India is sourced with all world renowned automotive players as compared to just four car manufacturers in Pakistan. Major automotive raw materials of the industry like steel, copper, technical assistance agreements backed with trained human resource are already available in India. The government while pursuing the initiatives like trade with India should realize that it already has the most liberal used car import policy which shows that there is no preparation for the likely impact of opening trade with India. Currently Pakistan allows 1,996 items import from India under Appendix G of Import Policy Order, which constitutes a positive list. This will now be replaced by a negative list. Being signatories to General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT) both the countries were bound not to display discriminatory attitude in trade with any of the member countries. He said that in the first phase the trade with India be initiated with the import of raw materials, machinery and equipments, moulds and dies etc. He said that the government has been taking anti industry measures for last couple of years which is not only hurting the car makers but resulting in devastating impact on vending industry as well. He said that the government should have prepared itself first as well as the industry before embarking on such an expedition, the haste is not understandable while the industry has been consulted at a stage where it seems to be a formality only.