LAHORE: A business forum has urged the government to take concrete measures in order to facilitate a significant increase in exports and reduce the volume of imports that will help avert a big trade deficit.
The government must provide more attractive incentives and special packages, with reduced taxes and preferential treatment to exporters, the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) said in a statement on Friday.
It called energy crisis the most critical challenge and its resolution would ensure sufficient and affordable supply of electricity, which was essential to maximise industrial productivity.
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Apart from this, there is a need to further strengthen the law and order situation and eliminate terrorism to optimise the economic progress. The government must invest heavily, engage in active trade diplomacy and hold trade exhibitions in an attempt to develop the export sector over the next three years.
“Pakistan has a great opportunity to increase its share in global trade through fresh economic activities generated by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, regional trade arrangements and the Strategic Trade Policy Framework,” said APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi.
“At this critical juncture, the government must take bold steps to reduce the cost of doing business, provide easy market access, strengthen its institutions and improve competitiveness through professional training and lowering costs of industrial inputs.”
He emphasised that a business-friendly environment would enhance investor interest, restore the confidence of export industries and resolve the issues faced by common people.
Moreover, the government must create new opportunities by exploring more international markets. It must open new vistas of trade with the East Asian and African regions while smartly entering into preferential trade agreements with developed countries that promise high potential for value-added goods exports.
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He pointed out that the government was already negotiating free trade agreements with Thailand and Turkey.
“Exports must increase 30% annually. There is an urgent need to bring down the cost of all essential utilities, on a par with regional competitors, to promote the country’s value-added textile exports,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2017.
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