Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said on Wednesday that Pakistan’s trade share in the global market had increased by 5.48 per cent during the last five years.
Speaking in the National Assembly during Question Hour, the minister said Pakistan’s export share in the global market in 2015 has increased by 3.50 per cent as compared to 2014.
He expressed hope that the country’s trade share in the global market would increase further as economic activity picks up as a result of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) project, regional trade arrangements and Strategic Trade Police Framework(STPF).
He said the government was well aware of the real issues affecting the country’s exports such as terrorism, energy crisis, low investment inflows and high cost of doing business.
He said several steps were taken relating to high cost of doing business, market access and competitiveness.
He said a total of Rs 20 billion will be spent on the development of export sector during the next three years.
Other measures include support for the import of plants and machinery to strengthen the supply chain and encourage value-addition, establishment of Export Promotion Council for Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics, and Rice Export Promotion Council, Performance Based Incentive (PBI) to offset the burden of higher utility costs and local levies and taxes on the export sectors, i.e. per unit price based refund of 10 per cent over last year’s exports.
He said that under the short-term export enhancement measures four product categories were being focused on including Basmati rice, horticulture, meat and meat products; and jewellery, with the parallel focus on the following markets – Iran, Afghanistan, China, and European Union.
He said the government iss trying to get better market access for local businesses in the international markets by concluding Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with different countries.
He added that bilateral free trade agreements with China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Iran, Mauritius and Indonesia are already in place.
He said the opportunity of zero-rated market access in the European Union market under the GSP Plus scheme has provided a fillip to our exports to our largest market. Moreover, the government is in the process of negotiating trade agreements with Thailand and Turkey.
Replying to another question, he added that Pakistan had not so far acceded to Information Technology Agreement due to two main reasons including the fact that FBR had shown reluctance as removal of duties may result in loss of revenue and the Ministry of Industries and Production was of the opinion that without adequate tariff protection, there would be no incentive to set-up IT-related industries in Pakistan.
However, he added the Ministry of Industries has since modulated its stance on the agreement.