Government to announce trade policy soon

Adviser stresses need for exploring new sectors and markets to boost exports

Our Correspondent March 17, 2019
Adviser stresses need for exploring new sectors and markets to boost exports. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: A new trade policy will be announced soon, said Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Saturday.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Trade opportunities in China, Indonesia and the United States of America’, he said that the new trade policy was being formulated in consultation with all stakeholders to make it more effective and fruitful.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Commerce and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to maximise its outreach to the business community. In this regard, all registered chambers and trade associations from across the country were invited to give their input in these consultative sessions.

Dawood said that a committee had also been constituted to control de-industrialisation in the country, asserting that the tariff policy would soon be presented before the federal cabinet for its approval. The PM’s adviser said that elaborative measures were being put in place to provide a platform to the entire business community to share their views and to resolve issues.

“The present effort has been made to ensure the widest possible and inclusive coverage, for providing a platform to the business community to share their concerns and suggestions to overcome the issues being faced by them,” he added.

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He said that the current sessions seek to focus not only on China but also mean to raise awareness about the opportunities emerging in Indonesia and the USA, in the wake of recent developments in these markets. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China was being deliberated upon, and in this connection the commerce secretary would pay a visit to China as well, he remarked.

Elaborating on efforts to promote business, Dawood said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was focused on providing maximum facilitation to the country’s business community, enabling it to have a level playing field in their respective sectors. He said that the reforms package was aimed at encouraging the business community to attract more investment to enhance the country’s exports.

The adviser was of the view that Pakistan would have to explore and add new sectors and markets for boosting exports. He said the government was committed to creating jobs for the youth, adding that a vibrant export-oriented industry would help create job opportunities. He called upon the business community to play its due role in the economic well-being of the country and assured them of his full cooperation and support in resolving all their problems.

Also present at the event, Commerce Secretary Younus Dagha gave a detailed presentation on Pakistan-China trade relations with specific reference to review of tariff lines.

Within the perspective of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA), Dagha emphasised that Pakistan had gained unique bargaining power with China such as inclusion of balance of trade clause in the agreement and revision of safeguard provisions.

In addition to this, Pakistan also gained a favourable consideration on immediate elimination of tariff on Pakistan’s top 65 priority items.

“This breakthrough in negotiations is expected to enhance Pakistan’s exports to China,” he added. “It may also benefit our exporters in achieving greater market access in Indonesia and USA in the wake of withdrawal of GSP status from India and Turkey by USA.”

Also speaking on the occasion, representatives of trade associations and chambers appreciated the outreach initiative of the commerce ministry. They highlighted the importance of incorporating stakeholders in the policy making process and market access negotiations.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2019.

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