Opening up: LCCI pushes for FTAs with regional countries

Stresses need of diversification into new markets

APP February 29, 2016
LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Businessmen have urged the government to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with regional countries including those located in Central Asia, Middle East and Africa for giving a boost to the exports.

In a statement, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad and Vice President Nasir Saeed said Pakistan’s exports were extremely low when compared with other regional countries.

“We have to do a lot of work through public-private partnership,” Arshad said, while stressing the importance of joint ventures and exploration of new markets.

They said FTAs with non-traditional countries were needed to give a jumpstart to national exports. Pakistani businessmen should adopt an aggressive marketing strategy to get their due share in the international market, they suggested.

“Pakistan is struggling to achieve the minimal export target despite being blessed with abundant natural resources needed to thrive, while those countries that once saw Pakistan’s economy as a role model have progressed far ahead.”

They pointed out that Pakistan’s exports were highly concentrated in few items. Such concentration in a few markets could also become a source for instability in export earnings.

They stressed the need for developing regional trade, product specific and target oriented marketing strategy and exploring new markets and products to reduce the country’s dependence on few commodities and countries. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2016.

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