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Pakistan should take benefit from global trade relaxations to deal with decline in exports: FPCCI

August 18, 2020: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) organized an interactive webinar on “COVID-19: Trade and Trade Related Measures” via Zoom Video link. The webinar was organized by Sheikh Sultan Rehman, Vice President FPCCI along with Engr. M.A. Jabbar, Convener FPCCI Standing Committee on WTO Affairs.

The event highlighted the importance of World Trading Rules of WTO for trade and trade related measures, recognizing the same as an effective tool to sustain the growth of individual member economies and aggregate global economy conducting trade under World Trade Rules. The event also acknowledged the continued role of WTO in providing guidance as to mitigate the adverse effect of decline in global trade affecting the member countries.

Sheikh Sultan Rehman, Vice President FPCCI while opening the debate said that we should watch the ongoing advisory and other guiding role of WTO, which should be under our focus in the CoVID-19 situation to remain compliant with the obligations of World Trading Rules. We should also take benefit of the relaxations as are available and agreed to under arrangement of special and emergency clauses allowed by the world trading system under WTO. He further said that the trade and trade facilitated allowances should also be capitalized for making appropriate pressure on public sector to structure the temporary policies towards the gain of trade and economy in present economic crisis generated by declining world trade due to COVID-19. He said that the successful temporary policies may eventually convert into permanent policies for time to come to conduct World trade.

Engr. M.A. Jabbar, convener FPCCI Standing Committee on WTO Affairs said that Pakistan was moving in accordance with the requirements of WTO during past and the same spirit needs to be continued. Once the situation is settled and becomes normal, the rules of world trading application will generate complaints in WTO against countries which are not following the applied rules. He said that Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industries & Production, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of IT & Telecom, bodies like PSQCA and IPO have been extending knowledge-based contributions for taking up policy stance by our WTO mission in Geneva. Due to weak interest and deactivation of United States in WTO affairs, the WTO system working for further agreed positions became less relevant, but we should always prepare ourselves for facing the normal working system of WTO for trade conducting. He further said that WTO is presently asking and guiding member countries to help their economies through trade related supporting measures which includes alignments of fiscal, monetary, trade policy reviews as well as other regulatory functions in such a way that the concessions extended should suit the domestic trade related measures to help the economic recovery in crisis like situations being faced in CoVID-19.

The participants included from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Applied Economic Research Center (AERC) and trade bodies. Mr. Sohail Hanif, Joint Economic Adviser Ministry of Finance said that we are continuously endeavoring to make fiscal adjustments through FBR as well as providing budget lines for tax refunds and have been fully engaged in convincing SBP to take appropriate measures for reducing the cost of exports and domestic commerce beside providing other refinance facilities to off load the pressure from the manufacturing and trade units to reduce the cost push generated by CoVID-19 situation.  

Mr. Shahid Sattar, Secretary General of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) said that our main concern is the fiscal related ease which is to have in-time settlement of refunds of taxes, which also appears to be in alignment with the guidance of WTO for member countries to make all the fiscal adjustments to mitigate the effects of the CoVID-19. Representative from Faisalabad CCI also said that the promised automation system on refunds in-time is still not in place and asked for the same to be installed on urgent basis as to help the manufacturers to manage its cash flow.

Mr. Zaka ur Rehman Chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Association (PPMA) said that they look forward for ease in regulatory framework in respect of imports of raw materials from the traditional destinations so that the present exports of $300 million pharma products can be enhanced to likely to $2 billion in near future. He also requested for a new round of meetings in MoC to help in reducing the regulatory burden coming in the way of access to raw materials in manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.

Dr. Amir Hussain Siddiqui from Academia said that we have opportunities and threats in the present situation. We are under the ongoing departure in trade of goods & services, which may be considered to be analyzed towards the need of export diversification in order to expand the present limited horizon of our exports focused on traditional goods being demand driven and are adversely affected under the present crisis affecting the reduction in demand. He further recommended that on the entire policy making in respect of business, the private sector should be completely involved so that the practical terminology of calling government as facilitator becomes practical for private sector which has all the knowledge related to types of business and destinations of imports as well as exports. He also suggested that we should study the Vietnam FTA with EU and China as it will replace our share for various reasons, which he deliberated exhaustively.

Mr. Jamil A. Naz, Prominent Member of FPCCI said that he is always looking forward towards a better and well thought, research based oriented outcome as to the trade benefit to Pakistan while signing MoUs and FTAs as well as PTAs. He said that our success and win-win situation is secured by a strong R&D and positive influence on public sector to sign agreements after taking private sector on Board so that the trade agreement results if not more but at least should provide equal benefits to Pakistan in terms of trade values.

Press Release

Posted on: 2020-08-18T18:56:00+05:00


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