ISLAMABAD-The incumbent government is likely to announce its first Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) in next couple of weeks to double the country’s lower exports.

The PTI led coalition government had so far failed to present fresh STPF, as the previous policy was expired in 2018. However, officials informed that ministry of commerce is likely to present the new STPF for next three years in Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet within next few days. An official of the ministry of commerce informed that draft of STPF is almost ready, which has sent to ministry of finance and State Bank of Pakistan for their input. “It will be likely to present ECC meeting within next couple of weeks,” he added.

The government would preset the STPF before the federal cabinet for approval after ECC. Official informed that incumbent government wanted to increase the country’s exports in next five years by giving incentives to exporters. Under the proposed STPF, the government has estimated to enhance the exports to $26 billion in next fiscal year from estimated $23 billion of the ongoing fiscal year. Exports would further increase to $31 billion in 2021-22, $35 billion in 2022-23, $40 billion in 2023-24 and $46 billion in 2024-25.

The federal government in recent budget had withdrawn duties on hundred of raw materials to reduce the cost of doing business and increasing country’s exports. It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan’s exports had never gone beyond $26 billion. The successive governments had failed to increase the country’s exports, which resulted in massive trade deficit. The previous government of PML-N in last STPF 2015-18 aimed to enhance the annual exports to $35 billion by the end of June 2018. However, the country’s exports remained at around $22 billion to $23 billion missing the exports target by huge margin.

The incumbent government had prepared the draft of new STPF for next three years amid to enhance exports to $46 billion. Objective of the proposed STPF would be to enhance efficiency of the local industries in order to meeting the international requirements. They said that through this framework, the fundamental principles were also being set so as to addressing difficulties in preparations of products for export besides ensuring trouble-free refund to the business community and ensuring also continuity in policies and timely payments for the next 3-5 years.

Under the prime minister, a high-level committee will be constituted to keep an eye on the progress with regards to the framework. Under STPF, with inclusion of textile, leather and surgical products, sports, carpets, rice, cutlery, informal and development sectors including, engineering products, pharmaceutical, auto parts, processed food and beverages, footwear, gem and jewellery, fruits, vegetables, as many as 26 sectors had been included that would be given special attention.

Ministry of Commerce will focus on best utilisation of current regional and bilateral trading arrangements through detailed review and negotiation. New trading arrangements will be pursued with utmost care to protect local industry and focus on market access for value added goods. For optimising utilization of enhanced market access under FTAs, PTAs and GSP Plus, a market communication strategy will be implemented to disseminate the information on opportunities available for Pakistani enterprises under the preferential market access arrangements.