LAHORE: The tariff structure of the country is being rationalised and streamlined to ensure competitiveness of Pakistan’s industrial products in the global market and ease of doing business, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Textile Abdul Razak Dawood.
In a meeting with Punjab industrialists and officials of related departments on Saturday, Dawood emphasised that the government had managed to resolve the business community’s major problem of lack of access to the international market.
“Now, efforts are being initiated to ensure competitiveness of Pakistani products,” he said and pointed out that to achieve that, the government reduced and eliminated various duties on the import of industrial raw material.
He revealed that other ways and means were also under consideration to enhance the competitiveness of Pakistani products in the international market. However, he was of the view that Pakistan needed consistency in its policies.
The adviser said China’s global imports currently hovered around $2.1 trillion and Pakistan should take maximum benefit of the opportunity, which was made possible through the promotion of industrial sector and establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial estates.
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“China has agreed to import $1 billion worth of Pakistani goods and for the purpose, sugar and rice export targets have been met,” he said. “China has also promised to import additional consignments of $1 billion after completion of shipments in the first phase.”
However, “Pakistan is targeting to carve out a $200-billion share in Chinese imports,” he remarked.
Dawood highlighted that China was relocating its industrial units to Pakistan and the government was focused on improving the industrial structure as well as full facilitation of businessmen in a bid to enhance export-oriented industrial production.
He was of the opinion that such a decision would definitely increase the country’s overall export volume and revenues. He mentioned that the Japanese government was ready to provide a technology fund for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but “we need to understand that the provincial government has to decide, who wants it and who should get it.”
Speaking at the meeting, Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal said the Punjab government was working on import substitution to reduce the import bill.
Govt rationalising tariffs to promote industrialisation
“Initially, we are focusing on the top 20 import items and how to produce these locally,” he shared. “We will soon be able to ensure local manufacturing of export-quality porcelain tiles and oilseed production.”
He reaffirmed that the Punjab government was fully committed to attracting maximum foreign direct investment and industrial promotion, which would not only help create employment opportunities but would also enhance export revenues.
Iqbal pointed out that the provincial government was devising effective measures for industrial revolution through investment facilitation and advisory, strategic initiatives, setting up of SEZs and industrial estates, and bringing together industrial sectors having potential for joint ventures.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2019.
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