ISLAMABAD - Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to revamp trade missions and reinvigorate them by inducting credible and well-qualified business professionals as Commercial Counselors because they can play an effective role in improving country’s exports.

Shaban Khalid, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that government is reportedly working on a formula to reserve 20 per cent quote for appointing media persons as Press Officers in foreign missions to improve the image of the country. There is no doubt that the country needs to improve its international perception, however, it is equally important that government should seriously consider appointing credible individuals from the private sector in trade missions to promote the economic interests of the country in a better way.

He said trade missions are meant to serve the business interests of the country and added that who could better handle such matters than the individuals from the private sector. A certain percentage of quota should also be reserved for women entrepreneurs to serve in trade missions. He said Pakistan has immense potential to improve exports of traditional and non-traditional products, however, in some cases, due to lack of good professionals in trade missions, the country has been unable to realize its export potential. Business professionals have a better knowledge of market dynamics and if given a chance, they could contribute positively in exploring new markets for promoting exports. He said in 1981, Pakistan and Turkey had the same levels of exports of about $2.5 billion, but due to better performance of its Trade Missions, Turkish exports have reportedly crossed $150 billion last year while Pakistan is still struggling to export $25 billion. Even Bangladesh, which does not produce any cotton, has more value added textile and garments exports than Pakistan.

Shaban Khalid said that the performance of Pakistani trade missions has been mostly not up to the mark and hoped that the appointment of business professionals as Commercial Counselors will enable the country to find new customers for its products because being themselves in business, they are in a better position to fully tap all untapped foreign markets and regions for introducing Pakistani products.