Exports value to remain at  $22bn in FY 2019-20: Razak

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood has said that the country’s exports target of US $ 25 billion could not be achieved due to the ongoing situation of lockdown in the country and it could decline to more or less to US $ 22 billion.

The exports decreased in April by 50 percent and home remittances also declined in this situation, Abdul Razzak Dwaood said in an interview with Voice of America (VOA) here.

To a question, he said Pakistan could get benefits from low oil prices in the current evolving situation in the international market and there would be no larger impact of current account deficit (CoD) because of decline in petroleum prices.

He also vowed to open the industrial sector in the coming months to provide opportunities to the local exporters to get more benefits in the current scenario and major shift in the international trade market. He urged the exporters to get orders freely from all countries including textile industry to tap the new opportunities in the world market. Replying to a question on the impact of current situation on country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he forecast that it would contract by 0.5 percent during the current fiscal year.

He said even in recent challenging situation Pakistan has opened various sectors including information technology and other sectors  which attracted the world to the Pakistan product in these sectors. To a question on textile sector export, he said Pakistan was receiving big orders of face masks and sanitizers. “We have also received huge demand of Hydroxychloroquine and Pakistan has exported raw material to Germany and Turkey and 1000,000 tablets to Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Replying to another question about United States-Pakistan trade dialogue, he said Pakistan wanted access in potential US market for this. “We demanded the US government to eliminate the travel restriction for Pakistanis to increase bilateral trade.”

He said during the visit of Prime Minster Imran Khan, both the countries agreed to start dialogue for searching the new avenues for bilateral trade in US and Pakistan. The adviser said that Pakistan also demanded the United States and other international brands and companies to open their offices in Pakistan for bringing foreign investment in the country.

He said Pakistan wanted access in textile, information technology and services sectors in potential US market to increase our exports. Replying to another question on Afghan Transit Trade, he said our trade agreement was going to expire in June 2021, and now “we are in preparation to negotiate with them”.

He said Afghan transit trade gave loss to local industry. He said Pakistan wanted to increase bilateral trade with Afghanistan but “we had some reservation and there is need to take some measures to protect the local industrial sector”.

Replying to another question, he said the government wanted to increase customs duties instead of direct tax. The government wanted 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).

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