First 5-year trade policy on its way

KARACHI: Ministry of Commerce Federal Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha said on Friday that for the first time a five years strategic trade policy framework (2018-23), with an annual growth target of 10 per cent in exports is being worked on. The trade policy is going to be announced in July this year but a draft proposal will be presented in March before the stakeholders for consultation. Breaking away from the long held three year policy rule, a need for a long-term policy framework was felt in order give sufficient space to new investments which fall in line with capacity building of exports, Mr Dagha pointed out. The new policy would focus on non-traditional items such as livestock, meat and poultry as all such items are currently reaching the Middle East market from countries like Brazil. Moreover, incentives will be given to exporters to explore new markets such as Africa. He identified poultry as a fast growing trade with swift capacity expansion which can be increased to meet the potential export demand. Recognising the burgeoning import bills for capital goods and raw materials of a developing economy, he called for export capacity building and diversification to counter the expenses. In light of the PM incentive package after which exports started to record a growth of 12-13pc per month, he hopes exports to touch $23 billion this fiscal year. He further assured that the new policy would remove all the shortcomings in previous policy and would stress on agro-processing industry. Bypassing the role of trade bodies in verification of export documents in order to receive incentive packages would reduce the processing time of refund collection, he clarified, responding to a question. Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2018

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