‘Pak-Africa trade has potential to touch $8bn mark’

ISLAMABAD: Commerce Secretary Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera said on Monday that Pakistan wanted to double its trade with African region from $4 billion to $8 billion by tapping huge potential existing in the region.

He said the government was focusing on enhancing the production of goods in all priority sectors to exploit new markets and increase the country’s exports.

Talking to APP, he said Pak-Africa trade was well below its true potential. “Both sides want to enter into long-term partnerships that could prove to be mutually beneficial,” Sukhera added.

He stressed the need to develop banking and transportation channels between Pakistan and African countries.

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“Pakistan is on the path of economic growth as the country attracted significant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from leading investors during the last one year,” the commerce secretary noted.

On the commerce ministry’s recently concluded trade conference in Nairobi, he said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference 2020 (PATDC-20), which was also attended by the officials of Kenyan Ministry of Commerce and the East African Association.

Leading Pakistani companies and African companies held over 1,000 (business-to-business) B2B meetings on the sidelines of the conference, Sukhera said, adding Pakistani exporters of rice, sports, pharmaceutical and fans also arranged B2B and government-to-government meetings on the occasion.

“The government is working on the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) to change the trade strategies according to new market trends and to search the new markets for Pakistani exports,” he added.

The senior official said the government had focused on different potential regions including Africa and North America to enhance economic and business cooperation.

“We also want to promote e-commerce so that new employment opportunities for local youth could be provided.”

With regard to the government’s successes, Sukhera informed that the finalisation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)-II with China, the ongoing exploration of African and Russian markets, and last review of the Generalized Schemes of References (GSP-Plus) with the European Union (EU) were the key successes of the government.

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