Dr Amjad Masood, Assistant Professor of Economics, Preston University, Islamabad delivered a lecture on “PRIVATE SECTOR BASED EMERGING TRENDS IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE POLICY”. The Lecture was elaborate, comprehensive and thoroughly professional. It covered latest trends pertinent to the topic of the lecture. The referenced lecture was highly interactive and the participating faculty members immensely benefited from it.

In his discourse on the subject Dr. Amjad said tariffs become less relevant entity in the arena international trade policy as the WTO has recently been pushing down the free trade agenda to remove or lower tariffs. As a result, Non-tariff- Barriers (NTBs) including Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) standards come into play. NTBs, he said,  are in fact public sector regulations which are mandatory to observe for the WTO member states.

Dilating further on the subject, Dr. Amjad said it is the private sector regulations which have recently ave overwhelmed the stage of international trade policy analysis. These include Global GAP, British Retailers Consortium, Marine Stewardship Council, Forest Stewardship Council, Fair-trade etc. Private standards are primarily voluntary schemes; however market forces have turned them into de facto mandatory regulations. They have in general quality improving effect, cost raising effect, and a kind of neo-colonialism as they affect market access to high value export markets such as the EU and United States, he informed. 

To sum up, the seminar gave insight into:

(1)What are private standards and how are they transforming international trade? (2)   Why did private standards emerge while public regulations were already there in effect? (3) What are the policy implications of private standards?