ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Commerce to immediately constitute Federal Export Development and Promotion Board (FEDPB) and organize its first meeting in March which he would personally preside over. He further said that leading exporters of Pakistan in various sectors may also be invited to give their proposals and views to further boost exports.The Prime Minister also asked the Ministry of Commerce to make a presentation to the Federal Cabinet on February 9 regarding the Master Plan for export promotion as envisaged for declaring 2011 as the ‘Year of Exports’.He was chairing a high level meeting on Proposed Amendments in Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2009 – 2013 here at the PM House on Wednesday afternoon.The Prime Minister emphasized that regional trade should be increased with the objective to enhance export to these countries. In this context, he stressed upon the exporters to take advantage of the Free Trade Agreement signed with China which is our leading regional trade partner.He also stressed upon the exporters to benefit from the trade agreement signed with Afghanistan particularly utilization of 13 trade routes leading to Central Asian Republics. He asked the Ministry of Commerce to submit concrete proposals in this regard to ensure the implementation of trade agreements.The Prime Minister particularly lauded the performance of the Pakistani exporters who despite economic difficulties and energy shortages had shown resilience and worked hard to enhance exports during the previous and current financial year.He particularly appreciated the performance of the exporters of non-traditional items, which have shown substantial increase in exports. He expressed confidence that the Pakistani exporters would continue to work with same spirit and zeal to help the country in minimizing the economic difficulties and strengthen its balance of payments.The Government, the Prime Minister said, would continue to extend all possible support as well as incentives for the traders. In this regard, he directed the Ministry of Finance to arrange release of funds to reimburse the pending claims of the exporters.
The Prime Minister while approving the thrust areas for promotion of exports directed that value added products of the agricultural sector should be encouraged.
This would not only help in increasing exports but would also substantially support the agriculture sector which would boost incomes of farmers and growers, he added.The Prime Minister approved, in principle, the amendments proposed in the Import and Export Policies which would be elaborated upon in the press briefing by the Minister for Commerce on Thursday.Earlier in his opening remarks the Prime Minister said that he had decided to convene this meeting to review trade performance during the first six months of the current fiscal year and adjustments in the regulatory mechanism.He maintained that trade is the primary vehicle for expanding economic opportunities and bringing social and economic welfare to the common man.The Prime Minister said that the objective of the strategic Trade Policy Framework launched by government was to put in place a stable and predictable regulatory framework by eliminating policy uncertainty and risk of mid-way changes.He viewed that despite adverse domestic and global factors, the country’s trade during the first six months of the current fiscal year has posted an impressive growth of 21 percent.Notably this significant growth is mainly contributed by cotton made ups, rice, jewelry, fruits, vegetables, meat and fans, he said and added a better unit price reflects progress in terms of value addition. He hoped to hit the target of US $ 20 billion exports this year.
The Prime Minister stated that nations have achieved great advancements through Trade and not Aid. “Trade is therefore priority for our government”, he added.He advised the Ministry of Commerce to immediately launch a calendar of events to mobilize the business community and take the country’s external trade to new heights.He also advised Ministry of Commerce to redouble their efforts for increasing market access for Pakistani products.
The Prime Minister stated that the Government is committed to provide necessary support to trade and industry but the present economic situation of the country demands doing away with subsidies and increasingly moving towards self-reliance.He pointed out that key to success is enhancing productivity, upgrading technology, reducing cost, improving product quality and gaining confidence of global consumers.The Prime Minister observed that “we are living in challenging times, economically and otherwise. We have no option but to succeed. Trade is the primary vehicle to address multiple challenges”.“We must therefore, do whatever we can to expand our external trade”, he stressed.Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister for Finance Dr.Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr.Nadeem Ul Haq, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Salman Siddique, CEO Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan Tariq Puri and other high officials attended the meeting – APP