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Introduction

The Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA) intends to further the development of the country’s trade sector by improving Pakistan’s competitiveness in international markets. The Activity is a key component of USAID Pakistan’s overall economic development program and supports achievement of Development Objective #2 from USAID/Pakistan’s Mission Strategy: “Improving Economic Status of Focus Populations.” The PREIA project includes provisions of providing technical assistance to the attached departments of Ministry of Commerce (MoC) of Pakistan to augment their institutional capacity to perform their mandated functions according to international standards.

PREIA has been requested by Ministry of Commerce to assist it in making informed decision with regard to question of acceding to Information Technology Agreement (ITA) a plurilateral agreement under WTO. The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was concluded by 29 participants at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996. Since then, the number of participants has grown to 82, representing about 97 per cent of world trade in IT products. The participants are committed to eliminating tariffs on IT products covered by the Agreement. At the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, over 50 members concluded the expansion of the Agreement, which now covers an additional 201 products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year.

A coalition of U.S. and Pakistan business organizations, led by Semiconductor Industry Association and the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council, had sent a letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018 urging the Pakistan government to join the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and ITA expansion. The letter was part of a broader global industry push to expand the number of participants in these important trade agreements, which through tariff-elimination have enormously benefited consumers, companies, and economies the world over. These companies included the American Business Council in Pakistan, Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES ([email protected]), Pakistan Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME Institute), The Indus Entrepreneurs, the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council, and We Create. Pakistan has recently signaled a strong interest in joining the ITA in its consultations with the WTO in Geneva, signaling its desire to be more fully integrated into the global supply chains and help its consumers obtain greater access to more affordable tech products.

Objectives

The Purpose of this activity is to assist Ministry of Commerce in arriving at an informed decision based on research, evidence and experience of comparable economies. Pakistan at this juncture is grappling with twin challenges of trade and fiscal deficits. One of the implications for eliminating tariffs will be certain loss of revenue for the Government. This may result in temporarily widening of trade deficit which the present Government has brought under control with great difficulty by curbing imports. The benefits to be accrued directly and indirectly in short, medium and long term need to be laid out clearly for making an informed decision. Hence, the objective of the study is to spell out as clearly as possible the threats and opportunities that accession to ITA may entail.

Anticipated Outcome

This activity will provide Government of Pakistan and Private sector with the analysis on implications of accession to ITA. The analysis will be in the form of a comprehensive report covering all aspects of economic activities which are likely to be benefitting or impacted otherwise as a result of liberalization entailed in the Agreement.

Tasks (Performance Requirements)

PREIA seeks to hire the services International/Local entity/individual consultant to conduct research on implications of accession to ITA for Pakistani economy that can help Ministry of Commerce to adopt a consistent approach for acceding to and promoting ITA at WTO as well as to take necessary measures for leveraging maximum benefits out of the opportunities presented by the accession. The report must include among other things:

  1. State of play of domestic IT sector its share in economy and cross border trade
  2. Analysis of accession’s impact on balance of trade, revenue through imports & domestic industry
  3. Identification of Potential GVCs that Pakistani businesses can connect with especially in the region
  4. Impact on exports traditional and non-traditional sectors of both goods & services
  5. Employment
  6. Measures needed to leverage benefits from accession for more inclusive economic growth

Deliverables

S. No.

Deliverables

Duration

1.

 Finalization of Scope, activities & Research proposal in consultation with MoC and PREIA

1 weeks

2.

One Public consultations to get input from public and private sector

1 week

3.

Submission of first draft and clearance from MoC & PREIA

3-4 weeks

4.

Seminar to solicit feedback

2 weeks

5.

Submission & Finalization of the report

1 weeks

6.

dissemination of the report

1 weeks





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Last date of Submitting Proposal December 20, 2020

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