‘Five-year trade policy being prepared to boost exports’

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Friday apprised the Senate that the commerce ministry was in the process of finalising a Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2020-25, which would be aimed at addressing capacity constraints of competitiveness and productivity-related issues that were hampering the growth of small-scale entrepreneurs.

Responding to various supplementary questions during the question hour, he said the country’s exports witnessed two per cent increase during the first seven months (July 2019-Jan 2020) of the current fiscal year (FY20).

Giving a break-up of the figures, he said the exports of textile sector witnessed 25pc increase, while that of poultry sector surged 50pc and fisheries sector soared 28 per cent during the period under review.

“Although the country’s exports registered an upward trend in quantitative terms, they struggled in terms of value owing to the prevailing recession at the international level.”

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To another question, Dawood said the special focus was being given to boost the export of IT, chemical and engineering products. Gas and electricity tariffs were also fixed for export-oriented sectors, he added.

“The federal cabinet had approved the National Tariff Policy (2019-24) on November 19, 2019, to make the tariff structure truly reflect trade policy priorities, improve competitiveness through duty-free access to imported inputs, rationalize the tariff structure to enhance efficiencies and reduce the relative “disincentive” for the exporting activities.”

To a separate question, Dawood said as many as 43 commercial counsellors were selected and 35 had already joined their duties. “Proper training was given to them before posting them abroad,” he maintained.

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