Pakistani EAC members strive to expand exports to China

ISLAMABAD: The recently established two Export Advisory Councils (EACs) are anticipated to boost Pakistan’s exports, particularly to China, its largest trade partner.”

This was started by Khalil Sattar, former Chairman of the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) and CEO of K&N’s Foods (Pvt) Ltd, the representative of the poultry industry in the EAC, in an interview with Gwadar Pro.

The EACs consist of major representatives from various industrial sectors to advise the Ministry of Commerce on pertinent issues.

The Ministry has included representatives from almost all sectors of the economy, including textiles, agriculture, marble, cement, etc.

Mr. Sattar termed this as a crucial initiative by the Ministry of Commerce, as the private sector engaged in business is aware of the issues hindering the realization of export potential and is apprising the government about these hurdles.

Recent data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) indicates that the country’s trade deficit has increased by a significant 33.59%, with a notable 17.3% decrease in imports as the country strives to improve economic indicators amid a depreciating local currency and depleting foreign exchange reserves.

Pakistan’s exports to China also increased by 41% from July 2022 to Oct 2023, totaling USD 1.23 billion, compared to USD 876.8 million in the same period last year.

However, under the agreement with the IMF, the Pakistani government is required to increase revenue collection.

To meet the targets, the government has had to impose import duties and sales taxes on various raw materials imported for the production of exportable items.

There has also been a lack of foreign currency, affecting imports of raw materials otherwise used in the production of exportable goods.

Current challenges for Pakistan in expanding exports also include export competitiveness, production costs of potential export projects, meeting sanitary and phytosanitary control requirements of importing countries for livestock and horticultural products, and insufficient value addition for abundant horticultural products.
To overcome the above challenges and expand exports to China, Mr. Sattar mentioned that the Council has been recently formed, and initial efforts are underway to export cooked bovine meat to China, with two bovine meat export companies already starting production of cooked meat.

The Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) issue is also being addressed by making FMD-free zones through compartmentalization and free vaccination against FMD by provincial governments.

China has become the most important export market for Pakistani seafood. At present, many Pakistani companies are seeking to deepen cooperation with China and increase their exports of aquatic products.

Mr. Khalil Sattar noted that in the field of the export of fisheries and fishery products, the Ministry of Commerce has advised the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to improve and modernize the fish harbor, for which the Minister of Commerce has assured them of providing funds from the Export Development Funds.

To further expand the country’s exports, the CEO recommended that the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance work out sales tax and duty drawbacks for all exportable items.

“There is also a need to encourage incentives for establishing horticulture value addition plants in FATA and Gilgit Baltistan, which produce tremendous volumes of dry fruits, apricots, plums, peaches, cherries, apples, etc.,” he added.

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