MPs for integrated plan to revive textile sector

2018-08-08T02:00:52+05:00 Atif Khan

ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile on Tuesday stressed the need for long-term strategy and adopting integrated institutional approach to revive the industry.

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The meeting of the committee held here in Parliament House on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Senator Shibli Faraz.

It showed concern over the trade decline in textile sector and sought report from ministry of commerce to improve trade in this sector.

The meeting was briefed regarding the closure of power looms and free trade agreement with China.

The officials said after the implementation of China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement in 2007, Pakistan offered tariff concessions on 6,711 items to China, while China offered tariff concessions on 6,418 items to Pakistan.

"After the expiry of first phase Beijing pressurised Islamabad to implement second phase of the agreement, lowering taxes on almost all imports of Chinese goods.

But Pakistan resisted to pressure since 2012, as it failed to reap any benefit from the deal and Pakistan's exports continue to shrink while imports from neighboring country kept on increasing. Between 2012 and 2017, for example, Pakistan's trade deficit with China tripled, going from $4 billion to $12.7billion.

Local business community has been opposing the agreement due to reason that products in which Pakistan enjoys a competitive advantage are not covered by the Chinese side, which enjoys far wider access to Pakistan's markets.

On the other side, China has become the largest source of Pakistan's imports, which stand at 29pc of total imports, and more than half of the country's imports of electrical equipment and machinery come from China.

The meeting directed the ministry of commerce and textile to align their direction in the right way to give a boost to the country's export and to reduce the trade deficit.

Shibli Faraz said "We require innovation to modernise the system for boosting economy. We are totally depending on export of textile and raw agriculture products which will never help us for increasing the exports."

He said only reducing tariffs on import of machinery or other export oriented material would not helpful in increasing exports, but the government must have to take other initiatives to make the export oriented products more competitive and more value added.

He also asked the ministry officials to work out a comprehensive and doable policy framework in this regard.

Secretary Commerce Muhammad Younas Dhaga informed the committee "We need export led growth and comprehensive policy frame work for sustainable growth in the country."

He further informed that new business avenues and a comprehensive strategy were under development which could be shared with the committee in coming meeting.

The meeting also discussed the point of public importance raised by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh in the Senate regarding collapse of power looms sector in Faisalabad.

The committee directed Secretary Textile ministry Shahrukh Nusrat to work out a strategy to revive the power loom sector in Faisalabad.

Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Agmed Khan, Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Attaur Rehman , Nuzhat Sadiq, Secretary Commerce Muhammad Younas Dhaga and other officials of Ministry of Commerce attended the meeting.

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