Pakistan loses $156 mn business to piracy

April 26th, 2008 - 4:57 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, April 26 (IANS) Large-scale violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Pakistan is causing the national exchequer a loss of Pakistani Rs.10 billion (about $156 million). The country has been placed on the ‘Special 301′ watch list report since 1989 due to widespread piracy, Daily Times newspaper said Saturday.

The watch list, prepared by United States Trade Representative (USTR), examines the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights in many countries around the world.

The newspaper reported the estimated trade loss in Pakistan in 2003 was $135 million that came down to $106 million in 2005 and now stand at $156 million.

If the government does not treat this issue on priority basis then Pakistan may have to face economic sanctions, the newspaper said.

According to Anti Counterfeiting Infringement Forum (ACIF), a recent estimate shows 60 percent of the consumer goods in the country were substandard.

Every year famous brands in Pakistan lose seven to 20 percent sales.

The ACIF figures point out that in the oil and lubricant industry, annual revenue loss to government was Rs.1,600 million; cigarette industry annual revenue loss to government was approximately Rs.500 million and books and publishing revenue loss to government was Rs.40 million.

Yasin Tahir, director general Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) of Pakistan, said: “IPO is conducting raids on factories and units engaged in illegal production to curb this menace.”

“Still there are large numbers of cases pending in courts, and we are trying to decide these cases promptly.”

Ameena Saiyid, MD, Oxford University Press said: “It is important for Pakistan to incorporate IPR in the body of the constitution itself, because an economy cannot be built on any other basis.

“Trade is not possible without someone owning an interest in property rights. Ownership of property comes before trade and commerce. Without IPR, there can be no property, no trade, no commerce, and no wealth.”

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