Pakistan forms new policy to boost exports


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has formed a new strategic policy to make a big push in exports particularly to the booming regions like Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and China, Khaleej Times reported.

The Newspaper further said that the new target to boost exports to an all time high of $35 billion a year means that within three years the amount has to go up by nearly $10 billion, which will require considerable effort by the industry, businesses and services. The three-year plan called “Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) – 2015-18 has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Production and Exports.

Low-cost finance, reduction in procedures, cheaper cargo and freight services, regular supply of electricity and gas and greater cooperation between the government and trade organisations are some of the incentives, which are required to achieve the results, the Khaleej Times said.

“All steps will be taken to enhance export to the $35 billion level by 2018 by expanding production of all currently exported items and those with a future potential in the changing global market,” the paper said quoting Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who chaired the Cabinet Committee on Production and Exports.

“While formulating the new strategy for higher exports, we have taken into account the potential of the industry and the economy, as well as the hurdles in growth, which restrained the output,” Khaleej Times quoting Minister for Commerce Khurrum Dastgir said.

The STFP has outlined the potential markets, which will be targeted to enhance exports. The focus for export of high-quality, Basmati rice will be the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran. Pakistan will make a push for export of its fruits, including oranges, mangoes, vegetables, potatoes, onions and halal meat products to the Middle East, the UAE and Iran.

South East Asia will be the target for export of horticulture products. India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Africa are identified for export of cement. Pakistan will offer a freight subsidy for export of cement to Africa. Items marked for export to China are rice, cotton yarn, fabrics and ready-to-wear garments. Wheat, rice, meat and cement are identified for export to Afghanistan. In order to expand trade, border marketing support, development, expansion of banking facilities, improvement of the rail-link and infra-structure development will be undertaken. Products destined for the Iran market will include provision of warehousing support, product branding, halal certification.

The STFP provides Rs 20 billion for research and development to expand and upgrade Pakistani exports and to achieve the targets set by this plan. The government has also decided to undertake immediate steps for expanding farm products, further improving the quality and range of products, especially fruits and vegetables, commodity pricing and to examine the input cost, which will have to be restrained in order to ensure expansion of exports and enable the country to counter foreign competition.

The government’s Committee on Ease of Doing Business, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the central bank, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Textiles will work jointly to achieve these objectives. Pakistani fashion industry is constantly increasing its exports and arranging fashion show in the UAE, Qatar and other foreign markets.

One has to look at the latest foreign trade statistics in order to understand the importance of export volumes and values in the context of the entire external balances. Some improvement is visible in this sector according to the latest SBP statistics, the paper said.

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