October 04, 2018 (MLN): Adviser to the Prime Minister Mr. Abdul Razaq Dawood has said that the rising tension between the US and China over trade tariffs is a good sign for Pakistan as it would place the country in a better negotiating position.
While briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production, he said that the government wanted trade to be more bilateral with China in lieu of the current unilateral position.
He also stressed for rationalising import regime to reduce duties over raw material so that the finished products could become cheap and competitive.
In response to query regarding Pakistani firms not being competent enough to meet the modern day requirements, the adviser to PM said that the main issue concerning award of government contracts was corruption.
He also shared his two-cents regarding the potential benefits and risks concerning the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and stressed that the local industries should prepare to compete with those risks in the industrial zones of CPEC, while ensuring that these industries are adequately protected.
He also panned the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and said that as a result of concessions granted to China under the agreement, Pakistan was becoming a trading nation.
The committee was informed that imports from China amounted to around $15 billion whereas exports to China from Pakistan were $1.5 billion, leading to a massive trade gap.
“I have asked the Chinese ambassador to raise the imports from Pakistan to at least $2bn. We have highlighted 330 tariff lines out of total 7,500 tariff lines of the customs where we need relaxations,” he said.
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