Export deals will hit snags, says Ministry of Commerce | Pakistan Today

Export deals will hit snags, says Ministry of Commerce

KARACHI – Export deals, worth millions of dollars, are likely to hit a snag as the Ministry of Defence, citing security reasons, is reluctant to issue VIP protocol passes to exporters for receiving their buyers at airports.
Though extended dates of the protocol passes, issued to the exporters, are going to expire by February 9, 2011, both the ministry of Defence and Ministry of Commerce are yet to arrange the new passes despite repeated requests by the country’s exporters, sources told Pakistan Today on Monday.
Pakistan issues protocol passes, with a minimum export performance of $10 million each year, to facilitate exporters meet their clients at the VIP lounges of airport. The date of passes was extended by the government, while exporters remain exasperated at the prevailing situation.
According to sources, the Ministry of Commerce was trying to boost exports from $10 million to avoid rush at airports, while the Ministry of Defence expressed reservations over passes, causing an acute uncertainty regarding the facility.
The facility was important for exporters as majority of the foreign buyers/importers, who have connected flights, usually take another flight after making a business deal with exporters. The VIP lounges were being used for trade deals where pass holders are usually permitted to meet their foreign importers/buyers for a short period.
“As there is uncertainty regarding passes, we could not complete various trade deals with foreign importers who want to hold meetings with exporters,” an exporter said. He said that, despite repeated requests at related office of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) recommending the issuance of passes to exporters; the authority was not clear about the issuance of passes.
TDAP, through advertisement, invites applications from exporters for protocol passes for leading exporters to access lounges of airports. The authority receives exporters’ applications through their respective Trade Associations / Chambers, along with verified proof of their export performance by the concerned bank.
A proper procedure for security verification needs to be followed. Application and security clearance forms are normally obtained from the authority’s head office and regional offices. The government had earlier fixed protocol passes to only those exporters, with a minimum export performance of $12.5 million or more during the fiscal year 2008.

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