ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood has said that the country’s export target of $25 billion would not be achieved this year due to the ongoing lockdown situation in the country, and that it could most likely decline to $22 billion.
In an interview with Voice of America (VOA), Dawood said the country’s exports decreased by 50pc in April while home remittances also declined significantly due to closure to global markets.
To a question, he said Pakistan could benefit from low oil prices in the international market; less impact on Current Account Deficit (CoD) would help Pakistan maintain precious foreign reserves.
He vowed to open the industrial sector in the coming months so that “local exporters could reap the benefits of the current scenario and could capilaltise on the major shift taking place in international trade market”.
He urged the exporters to acquire more orders and tap new opportunities in the world market.
On a query regarding the impact of coronavirus on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he forecast that it would contract by 0.5pc during the current fiscal year.
To a question on textile exports, he said that Pakistan was receiving big orders pertaining to face masks and sanitisers.
“We have also received huge orders of hydroxychloroquine…Pakistan has exported raw material to Germany and Turkey, besides sending 1,000,000 tablets to Saudi Arabia,” he added.
On United States-Pakistan Trade dialogue, he said that Pakistan wanted access to potential US market and in this regard, “we have asked the US government to eliminate travel restriction on Pakistanis”.
He said that during Prime Minster Imran Khan’s visit to the US, both countries had agreed to start dialogue to explore new avenues of bilateral trade.
The adviser said that Pakistan has urged the US to encourage its prominent brands and companies to open their offices in Pakistan, as that would bring foreign investment in the latter.
He said that Pakistan wanted access in textile, information technology and services’ sectors of the US market.
On Afghan Transit Trade, he said that Pak-Afghan trade agreement would expire in June 2021, and now “we are preparing to negotiate with them”.
He maintained that thr Afghan transit trade resulted in a loss for the local industry.
“Pakistan wants to increase bilateral trade with Afghanistan but we have some reservations…there is a need to take appropriate measures to protect the local industrial sector.”
Replying to another question, he said that the government wanted to increase customs’ duties instead of direct income tax. “The government wants to document the non-tax businesses and bring them in tax net,” he added.
He said the government might not change export tariffs and tax slabs in the upcoming budget (2020-21).