Karachi, May 20, 2019 (PPI-OT): Secretary Commerce, Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, held consultations with the business community in Faisalabad on the recently concluded Phase II of Pakistan China FTA, on export growth with the trade associations and discussed the industrial infrastructure development with Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC).
In a presentation at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shafiq Shahzad, Joint Secretary Commerce Division, said that Pakistan has secured duty free access on 313 items in China under the CPFTA Phase II. These items constitute the core of Pakistan’s production base and constitute more than 80% of Pakistan’s national export basket. Secretary Commerce said that China imports merchandise worth US$ 64 billion from the world in these 313 products.
Now that Pakistan has zero percent duty on these products in China, it is for our entrepreneurs to capitalize on the opportunities created due to this additional market access. If we are able to secure even 10% of this market share, our exports will increase by US$ 6.4 billion. The Phase II of the FTA will correct the trade imbalance with China, resulting from the Phase I. The business community appreciated the contours of the FTA and stated that China was an attractive market for Pakistan and the best way to benefit from these opportunities was to develop joint venture production facilities with the Chinese.
Secretary Commerce stated that Ministry of Commerce had held two B2B forums in China during the last six months and it was decided to hold such events every two months to provide opportunities for business linkages between the entrepreneurs of both sides. The President Faisalabad Chamber appreciated the competitiveness enhancement measures of the government and demanded a continuity of policy measures especially the predictability of gas and energy tariff and continuation of the PM’s export package. However, he raised concern on the volatility of exchange rate which was hampering the investor and exporter from taking business positions.
The Seminar was attended by Director General Punjab (Central) TDAP, Lahore, Mian Riaz Ahmad, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Islamabad, Mr. Muhammad Ashraf and a large number of leading exporters and business community of various associations and chambers of the region.
The FIEDMC management Faisalabad briefed the team of Ministry of Commerce and Tdap on the progress regarding operationalization of the industrial estate. The modalities of development of an Expo Centre along with the industrial estate were discussed. On a question regarding the revival of sick industry, Secretary Commerce stated that Ministry of Commerce will arrange a session in China in June with the potential investors to enter into JVs with the owners of sick units which can be operationalized in a shorter period than the Greenfield projects.
In a meeting with the Yarn Merchants Associations, the business climate in the country was discussed in detail. The representatives of the Association highlighted the challenges faced by the industry in the current business climate. They stated that the industrial competitiveness had improved due to the rationalization of exchange rate, competitive cost of gas and electricity, zero rating of export sectors, PM’s Export package and the stability of export refinance rate. However, such policies needed a reasonable period of continuity to enable the industrialists to invest in production capacities for creation of explore able surplus.
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