The Pakistan government in response to emerging international changes has decided to spend Rs20 billion over the next three years under the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2015/18 to enhance export competitiveness and institutional strengthening, sources in the Commerce Division said on Saturday.
The steps taken by the government to enhance exports, are sales tax zero-rating regime for five export-oriented sectors, textiles, leather, carpets, surgical and sports goods, has been introduced from July this year. An additional Rs6 billion is available for exporters through Textile Policy 2014.
Policy of uninterrupted energy supply has been implemented with zero electricity load-shedding on industrial feeders since October 2015 and zero gas load-shedding for industry since March 2016.
The sources also said in order to fulfill long-awaited demand for reducing cost of doing business, the government has taken a major step of reducing electricity tariff by Rs3 for industrial units with effect from January 1, 2016.
Further, fuel adjustment has been passed on to the consumers to reduce the cost of production.
The export infrastructure is being continuously improved, capacity of Lahore Expo Centre has been doubled, groundbreaking at Peshawar Expo Center and at three 21st Century land ports at Torkham, Wagah and Chaman is also expected this fiscal year.
In order to counter import surge through illegal trade and strengthen trade defence mechanisms, the National Tariff Commission Act has been revamped and approved by Parliament in 2015. Also leading business support institutions are being strengthened.
The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has recently been restructured, while Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company is being revitalised and strengthened, the sources said.
TDAP is undertaking various export promotional activities through trade exhibitions and delegations. The availability of affordable finance for the exports sector have been considerably improved.
They also said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has further reduced the discount rate, which currently stands at 5.75 percent. Likewise, the export finance rate, currently at 4.5 percent, is the lowest in a decade.
Exim Bank is being established to facilitate export credit and for reducing the cost of borrowing for exporting sectors on long-term basis. This will also reduce their risks through export credit guarantees and insurance facilities.
According to sources, FTA negotiations with Turkey and Thailand are at advanced stage, negotiations with Iran on FTA are being initiated and joint research study to assess the potential for a preferential arrangement with Korea is underway. There is consistent effort for negotiating additional market access for Pakistani products in target markets.
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