Chemical sector seeks to boost exports, cut imports

Event will also feature ChemSMART program, where new graduates will present their innovative ideas to business leaders in relevant field

By Our Correspondent
February 24, 2024
An aerial picture shows stacks of containers pictured on the deck of the MSC Allegra (R) and Ever Atop (L) container ships, docked beside container cranes at the UK´s largest freight port, in Felixstowe on the East coast of England, on January 27, 2024. — AFP

LAHORE: The chemical sector is facing a huge trade imbalance, as the country imports $35 billion worth of chemicals and exports only $3.5 billion, according to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).


The FPCCI’s regional chairman Zaki Aijaz and the organizer of the Pakistan Chemical Forum Moazzam Rasheed said that the sector needs to reduce its dependence on imports and increase its exports by improving local production, using natural resources and adding value to its products.

They also highlighted the challenges faced by the chemical industry, such as inconsistent policies, high energy prices, unrealistic taxation and high policy rates, which hamper its growth and competitiveness.

"The prudent way forward is import substitution through local production, optimum utilization of natural resources and value addition," they said, adding that the chemical sector has enormous potential which should be properly utilized for bridging trade deficit.

The Pakistan Chemical Forum, which will be held on March 4-6 at the International Expo Centre in Lahore, is expected to attract more than 250 foreign delegates and 15,000 visitors, who will get a chance to see the latest chemicals, raw materials, plants and machinery, analytical equipment and finished products from local and foreign companies.

The event, jointly organized by the B2B Media (Pvt.) LTD and Pakistan Chemistry Council, will also feature seminars, conferences, workshops and training sessions, where industry experts and academics will share their insights and experiences.

The exhibition will also host the 10th Pakistan Coating Show, the 3rd PAKCHEM Expo, the 4th Pakistan Polyurethane Expo and the 5th PAKLAB Expo, covering various sub-sectors of the chemical industry such as coatings, paints, inks, sealants, construction chemicals, surface finishes, specialty and commodity chemicals, petrochemicals, foams, footwear, insulation, appliances, analytical instruments, consumables, testing services and furniture.

The organizers said the event aimed at providing a platform for industry-academia linkage and enhancing the exports of Pakistan in general, and image building of the country at the international level in particular.

The inaugural ceremony of the Pakistan Chemical Forum will be attended by the president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the regional chairman of the FPCCI and the provincial minister as chief guests. The event will also feature a ChemSMART program, where new graduates will present their innovative ideas to the business leaders in the relevant field.