The United States Trade Representative (USTR) in its Special 301 Report of 2016 mentions “USTR is moving Pakistan from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List in 2016 with an OCR (Out of Cycle Review) due to the Government of Pakistan’s significant efforts to implement key provisions of the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) Act of 2012 and the new found determination with which Pakistan has approached IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) over the past 12 months. Highlights of Pakistan’s recent efforts to address salient IPR challenges include establishing and appointing IP Tribunals at Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore; establishing a timeline for the amendment of major IPR laws; imminent implementation of the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) IP Enforcement Rules; undertaking public awareness programs on IPR protection; and committing to continue regular, action-oriented engagement with the United States and stakeholders………”
This situation is appreciable for the Government of Pakistan and business community specially exporters of Pakistan as they will be able to enjoy GSP (Generalized Scheme of Preferences) concession on exported goods which is 0% of customs duties in most cases. The countries continuously on priority watch list may be degraded to Priority Foreign Country and these countries can not avail GSP concession for their exports to US.
It is worth mentioning that removal of Pakistan from Priority Watch List is confidence of international community on efforts of the Government of Pakistan for streamlining its governance systems and strengthening IPR regime. It will not only help for development of genuine business at local level and attraction of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) but also open avenues for Pakistani businesses for growth in international markets.