LAHORE -  All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Ibrahim Qureshi has said that an effective National Export Growth Strategy is essential to control decline in export in the short-term and transforming the export sector structurally in the long-term.

He said that the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2015-18 has already identified the focus products and focus markets, which can help turn around exports in the short-term. He said that the current export portfolio is marred by a lack of diversification, as few products are exported by some exporters to limited markets. So, a major enhancement in exports requires huge and wide structural reforms.

He urged the government to take business community on board, who are the real stakeholders, in preparing policies to enhance exports so that fast widening trade deficit could be reduced, which is prerequisite for economic growth. He suggested the relevant government departments to join heads with the private sector for finding out a methodology for increasing the exports of the country.

International image building is the need of the hour with complete overhauling of TDAP, besides formation of new trade specific export promotion agencies having independent budgets and policies. He said that though energy shortage and law and order kept the economy hostage during the last many years, the government has a clear vision on the economic issues, which would help resolve their problems at the earliest.

He said that a quick turnaround can come from increasing competiveness of the existing export base and demand-led production of agricultural products, especially high value agriculture products. The long-term strategy needs structural reforms for the entire export sector, including high tech and innovative products, value-added exports commodities and market diversification towards unexplored markets like South America and Africa.

The APBF president urged the government that all stakeholders be taken on board while preparing industry-related policies, and asserted that industrial estates be exempted from loadshedding to meet the local market and export targets, which are presently facing loadshedding of 10 hours.

ICCI for formulating new trade policy in consultation with private sector

INP: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to formulate a new Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STFP) in consultation with private sector as the existing trade policy has failed to promote exports up to the desired level.

Khalid Iqbal Malik, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the STPF 2015-18 has not delivered as per expectations due to which the exports of the country have dwindled. He said it was encouraging that government has decided to revise it to arrest the trend of falling exports.

He said the existing trade policy had aimed to expand exports to $35 billion by 2018, improve export competitiveness, shift the economy from factor-driven to innovation-driven and increase the share in the regional trade. However, the policy has not helped in achieving all these good objectives as the exports of the country have continued to fall and were expected to reach $ 20 billion this fiscal year compared to around $25 billion in 2013. He said the unsatisfactory performance of exports necessitated the formulation of a new trade policy that should be developed in thorough consultation with private sector to make it inclusive and export-oriented.

Highlighting the reasons of lacklustre performance of the existing STPF, Khalid Iqbal Malik said that the improper structure of policy framework, late issuance of notifications of export promotion schemes announced in the policy and cumbersome procedures for availing the schemes were the major reasons of trade policy failure. He stressed that government should review previous export promotion scheme and remove their bottlenecks in the new trade policy to make it meaningful and result-oriented.

He said that due to the difficult procedures of existing STPF, claims of only Rs.3.3 million were received in two years from exporters while a bulk amount of Rs.4 billion had lapsed that was subsequently surrendered to the Ministry of Finance. He emphasized that the new trade policy should address such issues so that it could help in promoting exports to the real potential of the country.