‘Government will consider abolishing regulatory duty on steel’

Commerce minister discusses ways to increase country’s exports with LCCI

Our Correspondent April 05, 2018
Commerce minister discusses ways to increase country’s exports with LCCI. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile Muhammad Pervez Malik has said that the government will consider abolishing regulatory duty on steel. His statement comes as the government continues to negotiate terms with China in the second phase of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

While talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Malik Tahir Javaid, in an exclusive meeting on Wednesday, the federal minister said that concrete measures are being taken to boost the country’s exports.

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He urged the private sector to meet international standards and better marketing of products to compete effectively.

Talking about declining exports, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that major factors contributing to the decline of Pakistan’s exports are high cost of doing business, lack of product and market diversification, low level of technological advancement, non-compliance of international quality standards, underdeveloped human capital and unskilled labour.

He said that Pakistan has to move from low value-added to technology-intensive high-value-added manufacturing in order to get its share in the international trade.

Javaid said that Pakistan’s existing exports basket and destinations need to be enhanced. By providing a broader base of exports and diversification, Pakistan can lower instability in earnings, expand revenues, upgrade value-addition and enhance growth through many new markets and products.

He said that Pakistan needs to get free or preferential market access in Africa, Latin America, Central Asian Republics (CARs), Russia and Australia etc.

The LCCI president said that there is a need to renegotiate the already signed free or preferential trade agreements of Pakistan by thorough consultations with the business community.

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He said that Pakistan has to strictly follow standards under the technical barriers to trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards in order to increase its exports to developed countries. Pakistan would not be able to export its products to the developed countries, otherwise.

The country needs to take all possible measures to meet international quality standards and certifications for its exports, he said, adding that the development of human capital and skilled labour is immensely important to overcome the problem of low productivity, low value added and thus low exports.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2018.

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