The Pakistan government to achieve its ambitious export target of US dollar 35 billion by 2018 is taking effective steps on all fronts and also exploring every aspect under a multi-pronged strategy .
Monthly exports in Pakistan over the last few decades averaged at Rs38.82359 billion (USD 0.37 billion), reaching an all time high at Rs 275.483 billion (USD 2.63 billion) in September 2013. Pakistanâ€™s main export partners are: 13.6 per cent United States,11 per cent China, 8.5 per cent each to United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The government endeavoring to improve the trade situation of the country including zero-rated sales tax regime for top five textile sectors to bring down industrial costs for the value-added textile sector and help increase their exports. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif gave Rs180 billion incentive package to exporters to boost the countryâ€™s exports.
Under the package, sales tax and customs duty on import of textile machinery and cotton have been abolished. This will not only boost the exports and their products competitiveness in international market, but also lower the cost of doing business. A number of projects of power generation through hydel, coal, solar, wind, and other resources were being initiated under the CPEC investment, beside many others being financed by Pakistan government to ensure availability of cheaper electricity on sustainable basis.
The government is committed to add 10,000 megawatts electricity to the system by 2018 and 30,000MW within the next few years..A network of roads, highways and motorways is being laid at a cost of Rs1000 billion to integrate different regions of the country.
Keeping in view the fast developing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the government is encouraging the local industrialists to upgrade their industrial units including allied and vending industry of the country besides product value addition to cope with possible challenges set to arise with industryâ€™s expansion under CPEC.
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Director General (Sub-Regional Offices Punjab) Mian Riaz Ahmed said that TDAP was working to increase exports holistically while taking aboard all stakeholders. It was also building coordination with respective public-private sectors, taking up products value addition, encouraging export-oriented foreign investment and joint ventures, besides trade diplomacy in the key global markets for Pakistani products and services.
Mian Riaz Ahmed added that TDAP was also focusing export products diversity as well as increasing product base and reducing dependence on traditional products and markets. He explained that TDAP was focusing new exports destinations including Mexico, Central Asian States, African countries and Doha, while regularizing banking channel with Iran, Masco and other countries that would definitely jack up sale of Pakistani products and services abroad.
TDAP Director General said that they have added IT sector in their exportable services. They are also putting things in order for skill development of labour force, and TDAP had established Cutlery Institute at Wazirabad for training, research and skill development. At Gujrat, an Export Display Centre had been established under public-private partnership to showcase exportable products manufactured in Gujrat, Gujranwala, Wazirabad and Sialkot, for foreign buyers,he cited.
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Abdul Basit appreciated governmentâ€™s initiatives on various aspects to stabilize exports. He, however, called upon the government to take further steps in this direction, citing that cost of doing business is another factor leaving Pakistani industry uncompetitive in the world market.
This issue could be addressed through provision of inexpensive energy to industry and reduced customs duty on raw materials of export-oriented industry. He suggested that government should develop common export cluster facilities for firms producing technology-intensive products to enable SMEs in medium/high technology sectors to complement each otherâ€™s resources and expertise.
According to Global Enabling Trade Report 2014, he mentioned, Pakistan ranked 88 in the availability of trade finance so establishment of a separate bank was indispensable to provide export finances/loans/credit on soft terms along with other services to exporters for rapid growth of exports.
Abdul Basit also stressed the need to diversify the exports in terms of markets as about 60 percent of Pakistanâ€™s exports go to ten countries namely, USA, China, UAE, Afghanistan, UK Germany, France, Bangladesh, Italy and Spain.
There is ample potential for increasing exports to large dynamic world markets, where Pakistan was an under achiever i.e. South America, Africa, Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Russia where the combined share of Pakistan exports was less than 10 percent of the total exports of Pakistan.
The commercial sections of Pakistan embassies in these aforementioned markets should showcase countryâ€™s exportable products in collaboration with the chambers of commerce, he maintained. Development of specialized/other skills is also crucial to ensure availability of skilled labour force. Also, competent engineers and managers for the industrial units were required to adopt new technologies to manage complex production processes in developing the products demanded internationally.
Lahore Chamber President advised the government to also train the people on costing and pricing; process control; export market brand strategy; market research; market access requirement; online marketing, export marketing strategy, export documentation; packing and packaging standards.
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