ISLAMABAD: The Standing Senate Committee on Trade has asked the Ministry of Commerce to explain the reasons for the country’s stagnant export earnings over the past decade, with Pakistan also lagging behind in the region.
The committee chaired by Senator Zeeshan Khanzada on Monday expressed concerns over weak exports and asked the Commerce Ministry for reasons at the next meeting.
Senator Saleem Mandviwalla raised the question that exports remained stagnant at the 2013 level of $ 24 billion in FY21. “We are also lagging behind Bangladesh and Vietnam with revenue d annual exports of $ 50 billion and $ 100 billion, respectively, “he added.
Mr. Khanzada asked the Ministry of Commerce to indicate the reasons why exports are not increasing compared to other developing countries. The meeting also called trade advisor Razak Dawood.
The committee also asked the Ministry of Commerce to regularly assess the performance of the trade attaché and organize exhibitions abroad to showcase Pakistani products in order to increase exports.
Commerce Secretary Saleh Farooqi briefed the committee on the ministry’s performance. He said Pakistan’s exports averaged $ 2 billion per month this year. He said exports fell dramatically last year due to Covid-19.
Mr. Farooqi said export earnings will be good in June.
On policy issues, he said the summary of the 2021-25 trade policy strategic framework is awaiting approval by the Economic Coordination Committee. He added that the draft domestic trade policy is being finalized.
The secretary added that the IT policy and the export policy have also been prepared. He said the e-commerce and national tariff policy have been approved by the cabinet. The Export Policy Decree and Import Policy Decree were also approved during the implementation of the Geographical Indications Act 2020.
Responding to a question from Senator Fida Mohammad, the Commerce Secretary said basmati rice production is underway in different districts of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During the committee meeting, Deputy Senate Speaker Qasim Suri requested a briefing on the free trade agreement with the GCC countries.
Asked by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq on Amazon, the commerce secretary said all issues in this regard have been resolved. “Now the people concerned will begin the process of training and courses,” he added.
Senator Khanzada called the complexities encountered in transit trade a significant problem and requested a detailed briefing from the Ministry of Commerce.
Informing the committee, trade adviser Razak Dawood said industries in Pakistan closed when the government took power, imports continued to rise and exports fell.
He said the Commerce Ministry formulated a strategic policy and presented it to Prime Minister Imran Khan. As part of the proposed policy, the range of export items has been expanded, he said, adding that new products are being offered instead of traditional ones.
He added that attention has been paid to other areas including food processing, IT, pharmacy and engineering.
Posted in Dawn, June 29, 2021