The Ministry of Industries and Production has asked the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) to formulate product standards for the automobile industry in accordance with the procedure prescribed in PSQCA rules.
The ministry issued an office memorandum this week following the Ministry of Science and Technology's briefing regarding PSQCA standards.
After examining the matter along with the Engineering Development Board (EDB), the industries ministry suggested to the PSQCA director-general that the process of framing standards may be initiated with the help of the technical committee and the National Standards Committee.
It also pointed out that draft standards may be notified after appropriate consultation.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan was notified as a contracting party to the UNECE WP-29 regulations (1958 agreement) by the United Nations office of legal affairs on April 24, 2020.
The said agreement does not involve any penalties in case of delay in compliance with the road map laid down by the country.
Also, the 1958 agreement involves mutual recognition, third-party certification and does not require local development of lab infrastructure.
"The regulations can be added in a phase-wise manner and their inclusion in vehicles can be ensured through the implementation of SRO 656(1)2006 under which local assembly/ manufacturing is allowed by the EDB," stated the memo.
The Ministry of Industries also stressed that concerns of the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) should be considered by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the PSQCA prior to the finalisation of standards for four-wheelers.
PAMA continues to emphasise that following the announcement of the Auto Industry Development Policy 2016-21, the government is committed to implementing the UNECE WP-29 regulations.
Hence, PSQCA must align the policy and play its role in accordance with the same because adoption of international regulations will help and support the domestic industry to sustain, develop, grow and pave the way for realising the export potential.
PAMA believes the government should first provide requisite testing facilities as per UNECE WP-29 regulations and trained manpower before any of the standards are approved.
"In the absence of such an infrastructure, it would be fruitless and tantamount to burdening the industry, which is already suffering from decline in sales volume and ever rising cost of production coupled with extra costs and compliance with no benefit to anyone," said PAMA.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2020.
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