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Boosting trade, a major challenge for economic revival

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Boosting trade, a major challenge for economic revival

Amidst persisting economic crunch and diminishing foreign exchange reserves, boosting country’s exports is direly needed for strengthening economy and favorable exchange rate.

Over the years, the non–consistent policies of the respective government gradually dragged the country to the verge of economic recession posing challenges like low growth rate, import-export imbalances, trade and current account deficit and currency exchange rate.

Massive borrowing from local and international financial institutions especially and slowing down flagship programs like China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during the PTI government tenure had further worsened the situation.

In this scenario, there was a dire need of prudent economic policies to steer the country out of crisis and laying down the foundations of a viable economy, more revenue collection, overcome trade deficit and stabilize our currency.

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Therefore, the present government has put in place many prolific initiatives to materialize country’s geo-strategic location for developing geo-economic strength with an objective to boost external trade that definitely would lead to streamlining of current account balance and promote economic growth.

The country’s exports during the last fiscal year (2021-22) crossed the threshold of $31 billion for the first time in history, so it was projected that exports would cross $50 billion in next three years. However high export targets necessitated the urgency for increasing industrial production to ensure higher export growth.

“Controlling trade deficit is a major challenge. Therefore, we are searching new markets to promote regional and international trade for domestic exports,” said Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar.

Stressing focus on information technology, agricultural and industrial sectors productivity, the minister said regional trade was very crucial for increasing country’s export. “We are continuously negotiating with Central Asian states for economic and trade integration and several agreements have been signed with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.”

He informed that apart from a mutual transit trade agreement, Uzbekistan had signed a mutual Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Pakistan. “A transit trade agreement has been signed with Kazakhstan recently as mutual trade agreements and negotiations were underway between Pakistan and Tajikistan.”

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Naveed Qamar said Pakistan is also in negotiations with Iran and Afghanistan to enhance mutual trade including barter trade. “Work on border trade markets between Pakistan and Iran was progressing and role of Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry was ‘very important’ in that regard.”

A senior official of the Commerce Ministry has also informed that 15 items had been identified for increasing trade with Afghanistan, including agricultural and pharmaceutical products.

Streamlining the cost of doing business and facilitating businesses in accordance with other regional markets is another area of focus to bolster country’s exports. In addition, promotion of agriculture produce could cut food import bill and reduce overall trade deficit. Therefore, the government is taking measures for import substitution, market diversification and promotion of regional trade.

“Policy of trade diversification and non-traditional market access was a major priority to increase exports,” remarked Director General Trade Policy Waqas Azeem. “Under diversification policy, we are working on both – the market and product diversification.”

He said that after the Brexit, negotiations were underway with the United Kingdom to bolster trade as he expressed confidence for positive results in near future.

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“Efforts are also afoot to connect local market with Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) trade alliance,” he stated. “Regional trading block is also important and talks are underway with regional trading bloc of Chile, Peru, Mexico and some other countries for the trade alliance.”

Waqas Azeem said market and product excess was very important to double the volume of trade with respective countries. “A trade and goods agreement had been reached with Türkiye to enhance mutual trade.”

As the challenge is enormous, therefore it is obligatory on both the government and business community in the country to join hands for effectively fighting out the dilemma of economic recession.

Besides other facilities for the exporters, the government has also reduced energy prices to curtail the cost of doing business for the export sector including textiles that has been welcomed by textile and other export sectors. Meanwhile, the business organizations are also doing their bit to explore more export market for earning foreign exchange and stabilizing country’s economy.

“Trade diversification at the market and product level is extremely important for increasing domestic exports,” said President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Irfan Malik. “FPCCI has formed its research wing to conduct research on modern commerce and its tools to lend a hand with the government for achieving targets envisaged for improving exports.”

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No matter that the government is fully focused on resolving trade deficit challenges the environment of political uncertainty is badly hampering its overtures.

Although it is paying full attention to major export sectors by announcing preferential packages for industry, agriculture, IT and pharmaceutical sectors, yet irrational politicking by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf is proving to be too lethal.

Sacrificing national interest for personal gains by Imran Khan has put almost all sectors of economy on halt posing serious challenges to economic managers.

Therefore, time is ripe for all political forces to reach a ‘Charter of Economy’ to ensure consistent economic policies and steer country out of persisting economic crunch in the country.

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Senator Vawda for reexamination of non-filers’ exemption for Hajj and Umrah

Senator Vawda for reexamination of non-filers’ exemption for Hajj and Umrah

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Senator Vawda for reexamination of non-filers' exemption for Hajj and Umrah

Senator Faisal Vawda has said the exemptions to the non-filers for Hajj and Umrah package should be reexamined.

Speaking at the Senate Committee on Finance meeting on budget, he questioned why non-filers were given exemption for Hajj and Umrah.

He said the media employees’ salaries were cut down during the Covid pandemic which should be returned to them immediately.

However, the committee chairman asked the senator to suggest the meeting what can be done in this regard?

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A meeting should be held with the Ministry of Information to make housing schemes and give incentives to the media workers to mitigate their hardships, Vawda suggested.

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COAS Munir pledges full support for successful implementation of CPEC

COAS Munir pledges full support for successful implementation of CPEC

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COAS Munir pledges full support for successful implementation of CPEC

Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the strategic partnership with China and pledged full support for the successful implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

He expressed the resolve during a meeting with Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), who called on him at General Headquarters on Friday.

During the meeting, both discussed matters of mutual interest, including regional peace and stability, and reviewed progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Mr. Liu Jianchao highlighted that he is visiting Pakistan as a follow up of the successful meetings between the leadership of the two countries in China.

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Also Read: All parties on same page for execution of CPEC project: Deputy PM Ishaq Dar

He emphasised the significance of the longstanding brotherly relations between the two nations and expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved on CPEC, reiterating China’s commitment to its timely completion.

The visiting dignitary also commended Pakistan’s efforts in maintaining regional peace and stability, acknowledging the support of the Pakistan Armed Forces in providing security to Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan.

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All political parties back CPEC, call it game changer

All political parties back CPEC, call it game changer

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All political parties back CPEC, call it game changer

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman declared that there is a national consensus on CPEC in Pakistan.

Addressing the Pakistan-China joint consultative session, Maulana remarked that China always unconditionally supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, and Pakistan similarly supported China on the Taiwan issue. He stressed the need to complete suspended projects with China and enhance further cooperation, asserting that China’s protocol should remain intact.

Yusuf Raza Gilani

Senate Chairman Yusuf Raza Gilani, while addressing the meeting, highlighted that CPEC is a crucial project for economic development and that the fellowship between Pakistan and China is higher than the Himalayas. He described CPEC as the backbone of the Pakistani economy and a warrantor of a better future and development for both countries.

Ayaz Sadiq

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Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq said that Pakistan and China are supporters of peace and prosperity in the region. He believed that the CPEC project significantly contributed to social and economic development. Sadiq noted that CPEC would be strengthened by promoting relations between the political parties of Pakistan and China and that the BRI project further reinforced the ties between the two states. He mentioned that the CPEC project faced disinformation in the past. He said that despite it the project remains a catalyst for poverty reduction, economic growth, and trade promotion.

More to read: Pakistan, China agree to explore opportunities under CPEC

Ahsan Iqbal

Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, speaking at the China-Pakistan Consultative Mechanism meeting, highlighted the unique friendly relations between Pakistan and China. He reiterated the national consensus on CPEC and assured that the Pakistani nation would never forget China’s support. Ahsan Iqbal stressed the importance of working together to secure the future and that the exchange of delegations would foster harmony between politicians from both sides. He highlighted that the political parties’ sitting together demonstrates a united political leadership. He thanked the Chinese leadership for their cooperation during Pakistan’s challenging times and mentioned that two-sided relations and cooperation were discussed during the Prime Minister’s visit to China.

Hina Rabbani Khar

Pakistan People’s Party leader and former minister Hina Rabbani Khar affirmed that all political parties are united in support of CPEC and underscored the significant role of Pakistan and China in the global scheme. She praised China’s progress in science and technology and noted that the People’s Party leadership laid the foundation for Pakistan-China relations. She mentioned that these relations were continued by Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari, and Bilawal Bhutto. Khar welcomed the representation of all political parties in the joint session. 

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