Federal cabinet approves Strategic Trade Policy Framework
ISLAMABAD – The federal cabinet has approved the five-year Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF), which aims at enhancing the ability of Pakistani enterprises’ capacity to produce, distribute and sell products and services more efficiently than our competitors.
Priority sectors have been identified under the STPF after studying the international demand trends on one hand and on the other the capacity and capabilities of various traditional and developmental export sectors of Pakistan. The former includes textile & apparel, leather, surgical instruments, sports goods, carpets, rice and cutlery. The developmental export sectors comprise of engineering goods (incl. auto parts), pharmaceuticals, marble & minerals, processed food & beverages, footwear, gems & jewellery, meat & poultry and chemicals. The main focus of STPF will be on geographical & product diversification, manufacturing cost reduction through tariff rationalisation, pursuit of regional connectivity including Look Africa and Silk Route Reconnect policies, and enhancement of market access through Free Trade Agreements & Preferential Trade Agreements. It also includes facilitation of logistics and tracking under the International Road Transports (TIR) Convention and enhancement of regional connectivity for access to Central Asian Republics, Turkey and Iran, through them to Europe and Russia.
The STPF is dynamic in nature and it will be subject to course correction based on constant monitoring and evaluation. There shall be an institutionalized mechanism for robust monitoring and implementation of the STPF in order to minimize policy implementation gaps, which have traditionally remained a weak link due to multi-organizational roles in the export ecosystem.
In order to oversee the implementation, a cross functional National Export Development Board (NEDB) has already been constituted under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, comprising of senior public sector officials of relevant organizations and private sector representatives. Regular meetings of the NEDB are being held in order to ensure the implementation of various policy measures.
The STPF has projected to take the country’s exports to $31.203b during current fiscal, $37.883b by 2022-23, $45.816b by 2023-24 and $57.028b by 2024-25. The STPF 2020-25 is based on the pillars that include rendering exports, a national priority and the primary driver of economic growth, that is both inclusive and sustainable, and is the main viable source of foreign exchange earnings, enhancement of exports via a collaborative and cohesive national effort engaging all relevant ministries, departments, government agencies and private sectors so as to ensure policy coherence; Introduction of strategic interventions in priority sectors under ‘Make in Pakistan’ initiative. These interventions have been identified in the Action Matrices; iv) Alignment of Trade Policy in tandem with macro-economic framework and other national policies such as taxation, revenue, textiles & industrial policy, etc.
The Vision of the STPF 2020-25 is for Pakistan to become a dynamic and efficient domestic market as well as a globally competitive export driven economy. The Mission is to transform Pakistan from a factor-driven to an efficiency-driven economy integrated into the regional and global value chains.
For export diversification a pilot project by the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with academia and textiles manufactures will formulate a strategy to introduce 4th generation industrial revolution in the area of textiles.