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Published Date: Nov 9, 2017

SDPI Press Release (November 9,2017)

DG Trade Policy to Develop and Promote Export Oriented Industries
KARACHI: In order to boost the exports, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) was in effort to broaden the horizon of trade policy of Pakistan. Therefore, strategic trade policy framework was designed to provide environment, conducive to exporters and to establish consistent and predictable policy regime as well. Moreover, Ministry of Commerce was aiming to facilitate, develop and promote export oriented industries and improve competitiveness of Pakistani products with regard to regional competitors.
 Noman Aslam Director General, Trade Policy MoC said this while speaking at a roundtable titled ‘Achieving Export Competitiveness in Pakistan’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Thursday. Terming the role of media highly important, he said that media could portray a positive image of Pakistan as a basic step to embark upon effective trade.
Gonzalo J Varela, Senior Economist with the World Bank Group (WBG) highlighted the role of trade as a vehicle of growth in developing countries over the last 30 years. He said that goods and services in Pakistan and other developing countries had grown exponentially since the 1980s. However, the downturn in Pakistan’s export sector in recent years, attributed to the country’s inability to fully harness its trade potential. Hence, effective policy initiatives to reduce tariffs and the cost-of-doing business in order to increase the competitiveness of Pakistani in international markets, he concluded.
Naida Rocha, Senior Economist, WBG, with the help of a detailed presentation suggested that Pakistan had a protectionist, discretionary trade policy and tariff liberalization efforts in capital and intermediate goods was not enough often remained in-consistent with other policy measures. She added further that there were different mechanism and exemptions that were skewed towards larger firms. Hence, trade facilitation and logistics was needed to be improved to enhance GVC integration, she said.
Dr. Vaqar Ahmad, Deputy Executive Director SDPI earlier opined that in terms of trading across border, Pakistan was ranked at 171 out of 190 in the Doing Business Index, making the country one of the least open for exports and imports of merchandise. The costs of both border- and documentary-compliance remain higher than competitor economies. Likewise, the exporting entities also continue to face rising cost of doing business.
He suggested that to enhance export competitiveness, the essential measures that needed to be taken include  bringing the cost of energy and other utilities down and  correcting the currently fragmented tax regime prevalent at the federal and provincial level. Besides,  rationalizing the overall burden of regulations on businesses including tax, environmental, labour, building and other municipal-level regulations and looking into ways in which public and private sector both contribute to the improvements in product sophistication through adoption of new technology were equally important, he concluded.