KARACHI : The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has termed the trade policy encouraging in the prevailing circumstances, and assured support to the government to help achieve the export target of $35 billion by 2018.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, FPCCI President Abdur Rauf Alam said the export target could be met if refunds to the tune of Rs 210 billion were made, tax system was simplified and uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas was ensured.

He demanded that problems of the export sector be solved so that exporters’ cost of doing business could come down and their products become competitive in the international market.

Moreover, he said that Pakistan should explore new markets with special focus on Iran and Afghanistan, as Pakistan can export rice, beef and other items worth $1 billion while exports to Afghanistan could be increased by 50 percent.

Rauf said that value addition should be preferred over the export of raw material while innovation and research should be focused upon.

He also called for improvement in infrastructure, skill development, labour productivity, usage of technology coupled with market research as diversification and sophistication of exports will pay dividends.

Meanwhile, United Business Group Secretary General Zubair Tufail lauded the government’s move to provide Rs 20 billion to the exporters over a period of three years.

He demanded for the immediate payment of Rs 6 billion, since only three months had been left in the current fiscal year.

He also sought the dispute resolution, intellectual property rights and improved tax and industrial policies for attracting the investment.

Zubair also appreciated the move to establish export development councils, explore regional markets, and revive dormant trade agreements with various countries, and said for these measures, transport infrastructure and security remained challenges.

He also lauded decision of the government to support the SME sector, which was a longstanding demand of the business community.

Similarly he hailed the decision to contain wastage of agricultural produce, and added enhancing the income of farmers will go a long way towards improving the agricultural sector.