Mar 12, 2020: President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Muhammad Ahmed Waheed Thursday expressed the hope that upcoming budget for the fiscal year (2020-21) would be business-friendly, aiming at promoting conducive business and investment environment.
In an interview with APP, the ICCI President said that low cost of inputs and compatible energy prices would help promote ease of doing business and make Pakistani products competitive in the international market where the country had to compete with many regional countries.
He proposed duty-free import of industrial machinery for modernization of local industry to help enhance capacity and capability of this sector for competing in the world markets.
“The strong and modern industrial infrastructure will guarantee expansion of export sector and lead to economic development and property,” he remarked.
He was of the view that the recent extension of Generalized Schemes of
Preferences -Plus (GSP- Plus) Status by European Union and China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) –II provided a big opportunity to the local exporter to access these potential markets for boosting exports.
“In Chinese market, we would have huge opportunity in terms of zero tariffs on 313 main export items including $1 billion annual tariff reduction facility on sugarcane and pesticides,” he said.
He said that the regional trade was also important, hence there was need to tap this potential through accessing regional countries, particularly five Central Asian
He said that recent peace development in Afghanistan would have positive impact on the regional trade integration and economic connectivity.
Replying to a question, he said that during the recently visit of United Sates (US), Secretary Commerce Wilbur Ross, the two countries agreed to engage in long term economic and trade cooperation for increasing the bilateral cooperation.
He said that Pakistan can get an opportunity to get GSP status for preferential trade status in potential US and engage US in future cooperation to capture big share in US markets.
He said that US exports to Pakistan touched $2.6 in 2019 while the US companies made over $1.4 billion direct investments in the country since 2016, urging that it was high time that the government further facilitates the local exporter to get more benefits from US market.
Highlighting the importance of exploring new markets, he said that the government was working to enhance trade relations in different regions including Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), African region and North and South Americas.
Meanwhile, talking about the revenue generation, he said that the local business community was fully committed to pay the taxes, however stressed the need for expanding tax-base.
He urged for introducing reforms in national tax system to introduce the best international practices and innovative methods.