US-China trade war may turn out be a windfall for Pakistan

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KARACHI– The trade war between China and the United States of America (USA) can be beneficial for Pakistan. The Pakistani government is not looking to freeze work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but wishes to bridge the trade deficit with China.

This was stated by Prime Minister Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood in a meeting with members of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Exporters Association (PHMA) here Friday. This was the first meeting undertaken by Abdul Razak Dawood after assuming charge as the PM’s Adviser. Industrialists and exporters discussed matters hurting the exports.

Razak Dawood said, the trade war between China and USA is getting bigger and bigger by the day but the demand of goods is not on the decline. Pakistan needs to explore ways so that it can benefit from this war. Pakistan can import Chinese semi-finished goods, and with a little value-addition, these goods can be exported to USA and western countries.

“Pakistan needs a strategy to benefit from this trade war. The government needs input from the trading and exporting community about how to benefit from this. The business community needs to do its homework on this issue and guide the government about what to do in this regard. The real devil is in the details,” said Razak Dawood.

At a question with regard to freezing work on the CPEC, Razak Dawood said, he was misquoted. The government’s point of view was also communicated during the meeting with Chinese diplomats. “Pakistan wishes to bridge the trade gap with China. We demand the same market access as China has given to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“There is a realisation by the Chinese authorities regarding Pakistan’s trade deficit issue, and negotiations on the FTA are progressing in a friendly manner. Pakistan needs Chinese investment in the country and as the minister in charge, I am working on this. Industrialists are ready to do joint ventures with Chinese industries,” said Razak Dawood.

The minister will be visiting China on Nov 4, and was meeting with trade bodies in order to familiarize himself with the various possibilities prepared. A delegation of importers from China is also scheduled to visit Pakistan on October 8. China has given 313 preferential lines, presenting the Pakistani exporters with a great opportunity to find markets in mainland China.

On the Chinese investment in trade of primary goods, Razzak Dawood said, that it is a matter of great concern and also that he will lay down the policy for the trade of primary goods.

“If they take all the primary goods from us, what will we manufacture?”.

Chief coordinator Muhammad Jawed Bilwani told the meeting that in Pakistan, cotton production is on the decline and this is hurting the textile industry. Exports of fashion apparel is at $5.3 billion, a figure that comprises 36 percent of the total textile exports.

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