Secretary Commerce assures level playing field against India for local exporters

Islamabad: The Federal Secretary Commerce, Zafar Mehmood visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss trade related issues for promotion of local exports.

Speaking on the occasion, Zafar Mehmood said that private sector is the engine of economic growth and Government would not implement the free trade regime without ensuring level playing field for its exporters. He said that Government has already started various training programs for capacity building of exporters, especially for the women entrepreneurs.

Talking about the Negative List, the Federal Secretary said that all decisions would be made keeping in view the national interests as WTO trading arrangements also provide Trade Defence Measures in case of unfair trade practices or any threat to local industry. He said that Ministry of commerce would further simplify these laws for facilitation

He said that Ministry was in the process to publish sector-wise brochures regarding trade with India in which all the information about size of markets and trends of exportable items would be included. To a question Zafar Mehmood said that Ministry level talks would likely be held in the next month for normalizing the business visas and other policies.

The meeting was told that Trade Ordinance 2007 would be promulgated soon as it was requested to Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce to look into the issue.

Secretary Commerce informed the business community that Pakistan would get GSP Plus status very soon for its exports from the European Union that results in 80 percent of our local items would get duty free access to EU markets.

In his welcome address, Yassar Sakhi Butt, President ICCI said that Ministry of Commerce and ICCI have common mandate, thus regular interaction between both the organizations would provide benefit to the business community and accelerate business activities in the country.

He was of the view that normally Chambers and associations are taken on board at final stages of budget making process giving them a short time to give their thorough input. He proposed that consultation process with stakeholders should start at least 5-6 months in advance of budget finalization and weight age should be given to the proposals that are submitted by Chamber/Associations instead of taking unilateral decisions.

He said that Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with Ministry of Industries and Industrial Zones should conduct a study to find out those industries that were really vulnerable in Post-MFN scenario, establish their database and support them with subsidized utility rates for 3-4 years so that they could come out of vulnerable situation and compete effectively. President ICCI suggested that Commercial Section of Pakistan Embassy in India should conduct study of Indian market to find out the potential opportunities for Pakistani products.

Yassar Sakhi Butt further stated that Ministry of Commerce should direct Commercial Offices abroad to send market study reports to Chambers regularly which would help exporters to know market potential of their exports abroad.

For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road, Mauve Area, G-8/1,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +9251 225 0526 and 225 3145
Fax: +9251 225 2950

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