ERUM ZAIDI AND WAQAR HAMZA KARACHI - The foreign trade experts and industrialists have termed the projected exports target of 18.8 billion dollars with 6 per cent growth for the current finical year in the new trade policy 2009-10 as 'irrational in anticipation of further devaluation of Pak rupee against the US dollar and other major currencies in the upcoming months. Experts said the Ministry should have projected exports target over 20 billion dollars for the fiscal year 2009-10, keeping in view the declining trend in the size and share of Pakistans export in the global trade. They said the dollar-rupee exchange rate parity has declined massively since the beginning of FY09 as the value of the rupee down by 35 per cent during last fiscal year. This projection could decrease the volume of Pakistans exports in the foreign trade by declining the quantum of our exports in trading with major partners if the current pace of volatility in exchange rate is persistent in upcoming months, experts said. It is to be noted here that Federal Commerce Minister Amin Fahim announced three years 2009-12 Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) after getting formal approval from the Federal Cabinet. According to new policy, the Ministry therefore has set the export growth target of 6 per cent for 2009-10 and 10 and 13 per cent for each of the successive years. Mian Zahid Hussain, Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry while talking to TheNation said that in the fiscal year 2007-08, Pakistan total exports stood at $19.5 billion while the rupee was traded at Rs60 against local currency in local forex market. However, in the last financial year, 2008-09, the total exports of the country amounted to $17.7 billion whereby the US currency crossed the level of Rs 80. The tangible export value was amounted at $ 19.5 billion but in terms of quantity our exports witnessed $14 billion during FY09. It is important to mention here that currently, the US dollar is hovering around at Rs83 against Pak rupee. Muzzammil Aslam, Head of Research at JS Global said that in order to achieve the proposed target, there is need to improve and increase our exports through product and market diversification with gains in productivity. The President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries KCCI Anjum Nisar termed the trade policy 2009-12 a plausible one provided it is implemented immediately, for announcements have always been made for the betterment of business-doing environment. Haroon Rashid Shaikh, Chairman Engineering Components and Machinery Manufacturing Association of Pakistan, said the subsidy on engineering goods is nothing and quite minimum which will not help in put to decrease the cost, and reduction of the surcharges on electricity along with awarding the engineering industry zero-rated could be beneficial. Raja Tariq Hasan, an engineer goods dealer, said that the 25 to 30 percent inland freight subsidy given on engineering goods is less effective, and it would only be helpful if export goods were subsidised to lessen the cost of export, yet it is a good sign that we have at least received some benefits in this trade policy. Qamar Usman, tax laws expert, said that there is no radical measure seen in the trade policy, which is not possible in actual, yet the government is taking interest in stabilising the business scenario, and for that they should heed on real issues of the industry. The hedge fund is of only Rs 2.5 billion which is nothing considering the loses and loan of the industries as only single units expenditures exceed up to Rs 10 to 15 billion. However, its a good step to have a long term trade policy but it needs a review after every 6 month, he added. The policy is termed as Strategic Trade Frame according to the trade dossier received by the sources. Imports are targeted to increase up to ten percent for the year 2010-11 according to the new trade policy. According to new policy, the ministry for the first time is introducing a few intermediate indicators, which contribute to the enhancement of export competitiveness. It is expected that by 2012 the competitiveness ranking of Pakistan will improve from 101 to 75; the share of engineering exports will increase from 1.5 per cent to 5 per cent value addition of cotton to increase from US $ 1000 to $ 1500 per bale; and regional trade to expand from 17 to 25pc.