Number of Downlaods: 16
Published Date: Jun 15, 1998
Brig. (retd) Mohammad Yasin, SDPI
For developing countries, the WTO agreements on telecommunications and information technology will offer new opportunities for development in these sectors. Under the telecommunications agreement, the signatories will open door to competition from foreign countries. The IT agreement will eliminate customs duties and other charges on IT products. Pakistan has signed the telecommunication agreement with certain exemptions and commitments. However, it will sign the IT agreement during its 9th Five Year Plan. The development of information and telecommunications infrastructure is capital intensive and foreign investment would be of great help. Similarly free trade in IT products will reduce import costs and in turn manufacturing costs. However, with poor telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas and with almost no IT production industry, Pakistan, like other developing countries will have to carefully assess implications of these agreements and devise an appropriate strategy to forestall any negative fall-out.
This paper looks at Pakistan’s status viz-a-viz the two agreements, particularly the state of its IT manufacturing industry, the imbalances in its trade in IT products and suggests a strategy that it should adopt to minimise ‘subjugation’.