KARACHI: The slow growth in exports is because of uncertainty in the world economy and the government cannot do much to stop the widening trade deficit of the country, says Federal Commerce Minister Amin Fahim.
Speaking to media at the head office of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) here on Friday, he said, “Pakistan is facing serious challenges. World economy is not picking up pace that is hitting our exports while security challenges are forcing away foreign investment.”
However, Fahim, who earlier received a briefing from TDAP officials on Expo Pakistan 2012 to be held next month, expected a large number of foreign buyers to visit the exhibition and place more orders this year.
The government would encourage commercial counsellors to bring more foreign buyers to trade events like Expo Pakistan as these can aid the trade and economy, he said.
Replying to a question, he clarified that temporary posting of government officials in TDAP was part of a policy to make the organisation efficient and would in no way affect its operations.
Responding to questions raised over the posting of questionable commercial counsellors abroad, Fahim said the government had extended the deadline for them to return home from August 31 to September 30 as they needed some time to pack up.
He brushed aside criticism of fashion shows organised by TDAP, saying such shows were important for foreign buyers, who come to Pakistan every year to explore the trade and economy.
Pakistan has a very negative image in outer world that has to be changed and for this local media should highlight positive developments taking place in the country, he stressed.
TDAP officials are expecting a much better response to the exhibition than last year and have already booked 500 rooms for foreign visitors in five-star hotels in Karachi.
“The response is so encouraging that we are now trying to book rooms in four-star hotels as well to accommodate foreign buyers who are contacting us to get some space for Expo Pakistan,” the official said.
“Most of our 300 stalls have been booked by the exhibitors, though three weeks are yet to go before the exhibition.”
According to TDAP, hundreds of foreign buyers from dozens of countries have confirmed their participation in Expo Pakistan and this year export orders will be more than those in 2011. Last year, foreign buyers from 52 countries placed orders worth $517 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.