Export-led growth real aim of Pakistan: Commerce minister

ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar has said that export led growth is the real aim of Pakistan and free trade will be imperative in this regard. He has acknowledged the importance of free markets and their role in promoting growth.
He made these remarks in launching ceremony of “Trade Connectivity” Book. The Economic Advisory Group (EAG) and Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) organized the event with the support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Pakistan. The event was attended by dignitaries from the government, private sector, academia, IMF and the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Pakistan. The participants stressed on the importance of trade and regional connectivity in promoting economic prosperity. According to EAG, the recent import ban was not a well thought initiative taken by the government but it was aimed at temporary restraint of imports. Moreover, the uncertain political environment in the country has further slowed down the economic activity. However, the promotion of exports by tapping into new markets, increasing the exports basket by reducing the trade barriers is the ultimate way forward. Ms Esther Perez Ruiz, Resident Representative IMF Pakistan, added to the discussion that tariff and non-tariff trade barriers impose serious constraints on growth and sustainability.
Spain’s integration with the EUs in 80s and 90s was a political aspiration for the country, which led to a massive economic transformation. However, Pakistan’s exports to GDP reduced from 14% in 1990 to 10% in 2000s. Also Pakistan’s per capita GDP growth is very slow compared with its regional competitors. To realize export potential, Pakistan needs proactive policies: exchange rate flexibility, efficient allocation of resources, elimination of subsidies and creating business conducive environment in the country.
Ms. Birgit Lamm, Head of Country Office FNF Pakistan, enunciated that “Pakistan has a huge market with enormous potential for economic growth, but it’s time to translate this potential to action in creating wealth for the country & its citizens”.

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