ISLAMABAD - President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) Ahmed Hassan Moughal has said that the assurances of Chinese leadership during the recent visit of Prime Minister of Pakistan to China to double its imports from Pakistan are commendable.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, Ahmed Hassan Moughal termed it a positive development as it would help in reducing Pakistan’s trade imbalance with China and to improve the country’s dwindling forex reserves. However, he said that the Pakistani leadership should have pressed with the Chinese leadership for enhanced market access to Pakistan on similar lines as China has given to Bangladesh and member countries of ASEAN.

The ICCI President said this arrangement would have given significant boost to our exports to China. He said that China’s imports from Jan-July 2018 were over $1.22 trillion which showed that it was a huge market for Pakistan and urged that Pakistani exporters should fully capitalize this huge potential for exports. Ahmed Hassan Moughal stressed upon the government to focus on expanding export-based infrastructure through policy measures in order to trigger the growth of exports. He said by focusing on export-based infrastructure, Vietnam had turned the East Asian Crisis of 1990s into an economic miracle.

He said the introduction of sound economic policies enabled Vietnam to increase its exports from single digit in 1995 to triple digits in 2017 in terms of billion dollars as Vietnam’s exports of goods had crossed $213 billion in 2017. The ICCI President said that Pakistan was facing serious trade, current account and fiscal deficits and the best way to reduce these deficits on permanent basis was to create an enabling environment for exports.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal urged that the government should take all possible measures to facilitate the local industry in enhancing exports, especially to China. For this purpose, the government should develop and promote local industries on modern lines for producing competitive products, he added.

Senior Vice President ICCI Rafat Farid and Vice President Iftikhar Anwar Sethi said that focus on improving export-based infrastructure would produce multiple benefits for the economy as it would promote exports, accelerate the growth of industrial sector, create new jobs for youth, improve country’s trade balance and reduce poverty. They said that focus on exports promotion helped Vietnam to make spectacular decrease in poverty as the percentage of Vietnamese population living below the poverty line fell from 58% in 1993 to 9.8% in 2018.

The ICCI SVP and VP were of the view that Pakistan could achieve similar results by focusing on trade and exports and emphasized that the government should partner with private sector to realize these goals.