ISLAMABAD   -    Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce and Textile Abdul Razzak Dawood on Tuesday said that China has agreed to offer Pakistan its market access similar to that offered to countries of Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) on Islamabad’s demand.

He further said that Chinese government has also agreed to immediately reduce duties to zero percent on 313 tariff lines.  Pakistan and China would sign the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing later this month, the Advisor to Prime Minister said in National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile. He said that the second phase of FTA fell into internal politics of China, as some of their Ministers were not in favour to revise the trade agreement with Pakistan. However, Chinese Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were in favour. However, the Chinese government had accepted our main demand of giving market access similar to that offered to countries of Asean, he added.

Dawood said that Turkey is not ready to give any incentive to Pakistan for exporting its textile and leather products. Turkey had imposed 27 percent duty on Pakistanis products. He further said that Afghanistan has destroyed Pakistan’s trade. The government is working to discourage the smuggling. He expressed hope that Pakistan’s exports would increase to China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Turkey due to the policies of the incumbent government.

The 4th meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce and textile was held under the chair of Syed Naveed Qamar MNA. The officials of the ministry of commerce informed the committee that government has successfully increased the exports and reduced the imports during ongoing fiscal year. The committee was told the imports had reduced by 8 percent in first eight months (July to February) of the ongoing fiscal year while exports had gone up during the same period.

Secretary of Ministry of Commerce Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera briefed the Committee in detail on the exports of Pakistan.  The committee was informed that Pakistan’s exports were declining during the period 2014-17. However, the exports had started increasing during the ongoing fiscal year due to the government’s policies. There is need for enhancing export competitiveness components particularly in the areas i,e  PM’s Package, zero rating of 5-export sectors, rationalization of energy costs for export sectors, exemption of export sectors from load shedding, tariff rationalization on raw material and intermediate products. In new policy initiatives, strategic trade policy frame work 2019-24, national tariff policy, trade related investment policy framework and regulatory reforms may be revisited for future improvements and growth of export and decline in import. On WTO, Secretary informed the committee about the Structure and functions, current issues faced by the Pakistan, the basic principles of trade were briefed in detail along with advantages of WTO. The Multi-trade agreements, dispute settlement Body, reforms, transparency and the role of E-Commerce and norms of trade facilitation agreement (TFA) briefed to committee.

 The Chairman informed the members with regard to Sub-committee report on the visit Faisalabad Garment City, and JICA sponsored Faisalabad Garment City Training Centre. The committee identified problems therein due to which the projects could not achieve objectives of their establishment. Another Sub-committee was constituted for its circulation by the Sanding Committee with the composition of four members including convener with the mandate to hear the side of the State Life Insurance Company (SLIC) and the aggrieved employees of the Company.  The Committee issued instructions to achieve objectives with the principles lay down for tariff policy and revisit the relocation of value added industry, resource intensive, agro and agriculture re-processing. The committee has decided that Ministry of commerce would brief the parliamentary panel on the WTO and export/import of Pakistan more conclusively in the next meeting.

Meeting was attended by Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA/Chairman, Mr. Ali Khan Jadoon, MNA, Mr. Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, MNA, Mr. Nawab Sher, MNA Mr. Raza Nasrullah, MNA, Mr. Khurram Shahzad, MNA, Mian Muhammad Shafiq, MNA, Ms. Sajida Begum, MNA, Mrs. Farukh Khan, MNA, Mr. Usman Ibrahim, MNA, Rana Tanveer Hussain, MNA, Mr. Rasheed Ahmed Khan, MNA, Ms. Tahira Aurangzeb, MNA, Ms. Shaista Pervaiz, MNA, Syed Javed Shah Jillani, MNA, and Advisor for Ministry of Commerce and Textile and Senior Officers of the Ministry and its Organization.