LAHORE - Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) has proposed to promote cross border trade with China through Gilgit-Baltistan, with Iran through Quetta, with Afghanistan through Quetta/Peshawar and with India through Lahore for effective implementation of Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-15. Establishment of Special Economic Zones in these border areas has therefore been proposed as one of the recommendations submitted by SMEDA to Ministry of Commerce regarding Strategic Trade Policy Framework Supplement 2013-14.
The Authority also recommended a Sector Development Strategy for logistics to be implemented with NTTFC and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority collaboration.  In its proposals, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority expressed its support to the Ministry of Commerce for establishing institutional framework announced in STPF 2012-15 for promoting trade and commerce, especially regarding Task Force for Facilitating Development of E-Commerce, Leather Promotion Council, Export-Import Bank and Service Trade Development Council.
The Strategic Trade Policy Supplement 2013-14 is being developed as a road map for effective implementation of the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF 2012-15). While appreciating the comprehensive approach adopted by the Ministry of Commerce, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority expressed the SMEs’ concerns regarding regulations & procedures to avail the announced incentives that are cumbersome as SMEs neither have the time, nor the financial strength to benefit from these incentives at times. Therefore, procedure for exports by SMEs in terms of documentation etc. must be simplified vis-a-vis those required by large enterprises and related information should be widely disseminated. WEBOC system may also to be simplified for SMEs.
Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority has also proposed inclusion of additional monetary concessions, for selected high growth sectors, such as Gems & Jewellery that may also be included in the list of sectors for which mark-up support of 2% on LTFF on purchase/import of machinery; and mark-up rate support of 1.5% on export financing schemes has already been announced. Similarly, 50% subsidy on cost of plant and machinery may also be provided for Fibre Glass Boats and equipment for Fisheries sectors.
Proposals for Trade Promotion – including establishment of export houses in key development sectors, matching grant facility, equity participation for infrastructure and provision of 50% subsidy on rental cost for 3 years for establishing Export Warehouses inland and abroad in selected Middle Eastern, Afghanistan and Central Asian Countries etc. have been proposed. Sector specific proposals for trade enhancement in Logistics, Fisheries, Dairy and Livestock, Gems and Jewellery, ICT and Allied Services and Women Entrepreneurship Development have also been submitted.
It is notable that SMEDA’s experience in some identified sectors, including Computer Services, Fisheries, Meat, Mining, Engineering goods and Leather– is significant and therefore, SMEDA’s partnership with Ministry of Commerce in these sectors for developing sector strategies can accrue greater benefits to the sectors, while enhancing their trade potential.