ICCI terms new Trade Policy’s export target too ambitious

  • March 24, 2016
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has termed the annual export target of $35 billion set in the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2015-18 as too ambitious, especially in the prevailing circumstances of energy shortage, high production cost and many other issues and called upon the government to set export targets keeping in view the ground realities of the economy. 
Atif Ikram Sheikh, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that without addressing key problems of the business community on priority, it would be an uphill task to increase annual exports from $25 billion to $ 35 billion within a short period of about 2 years. He said textiles accounted for over 60% of Pakistan’s total exports, however, our textile exports have come down to $8.363 during the first eight months of the current fiscal year compared to $ 9.166 during same period of 2014-15 showing a decline of 9%.  He said high cost of doing business and weak demand in the international market played major role in affecting our exports and in such scenario, achieving annual export target of $35 billion would be a big challenge. He urged that government should take priority measures to reduce production cost and create enabling environment for trade and exports if it wanted to achieve set export targets.  
He appreciated the incentives announced in STPF 15-18 for technology upgradation in specific sectors including fans, home appliances, rice, cutlery and sports goods and grants for leather, pharmaceuticals, fisheries and surgical instruments. However, he said many other engineering goods, marble and other products have great export potential which needed similar incentives from the government to improve exports. He said the share of engineering goods in international exports was rising while the share of textile exports was falling. In this situation, it was high time that government should focus on non-traditional sectors to make significant improvement in exports. 
Atif Ikram Sheikh said government has identified basmati rice, horticulture, meat & meat products and jewellery for enhancing their exports to Iran, China, Afghanistan and the European Union which was laudable step. He said many other Pakistani products have also good scope in these countries and stressed that government should cooperate with the private sector to get better penetration in these markets. 
He was of the view that government support for producing value added agriculture, marble, IT, engineering and other products could help in boosting trade and exports of the country and government policies should help private sector in value addition of such products to achieve a quantum jump in exports of the country.