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October 2, 2015

Government to unveil trade policy next week: minister


October 2, 2015

KARACHI: The government is likely to unveil new trade policy during the next week, which will focus on value-added exports that meet international standards, a minister said on Thursday.
The government is focusing on registration of Pakistani products in the international markets, said engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister for Commerce, addressing the newly-elected body and members of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI).
“There is not a single WHO- (World Health Organization) certified pharmaceutical unit here [Pakistan],” Khan said.
Minister Khan said making exports zero tax rated is a priority of his ministry and the ministry expressed its need to the prime minister.
“We consider you as our partners,” he told businessmen.
Khan said exporters will start getting benefits and incentives be distributed by the State Bank of Pakistan soon after the announcement of the trade policy.
On the issue of tax refunds, he said that they were in touch with the ministry of finance and a related department was made aware of this through meetings with the exporters.
“Other solutions are in the package [trade policy],” he added.
Calling Karachi a nerve centre of business activities in the country, he said operation brought peace in the city during the last two years.
“Karachi operation will continue without any compromise,” he said.
He said the government will build urgently required infrastructure with the partnership of the businessmen community, which is improving infrastructure at the Karachi Port Trust under the requirements of ease of doing business.
Khan said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will bring Rs4,600 billion in the country, which will help in overcoming energy crisis by the end of 2017.
He said work on Karachi-Hyderabad motorway has been started, whereas Karachi-Lahore motorway will be completed before June 2018. A gas pipeline between Karachi and Lahore will also be

Khan said political stability is important for the economic stability of the country.
“We have to connect Pakistan with the rest of the world,” he said.
He said Pakistan was awarded generalised system of preferences plus till 31 December 2031, adding that nobody could snatch such an award from Pakistan, but the government wants the review being carried out smoothly.
Any fear regarding its withdrawal is incorrect, he added.
On free trade agreement (FTA) with China, the federal minister said that they were going to balance trade with China, adding that after revision of FTA, Pakistan’s exports to China would increase.
First round on FTA with Thailand is completed and negotiations are underway with Turkey and Korea.
“Thailand is the doorway to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) where [Pakistan’s] access will be increased,” he said.
Businessmen leader and Chief Executive Trade Development Authority of Pakistan SM Muneer said businessmen want more than Rs200 billion of their refunds payment.
He demanded of the government to give president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) a federal minister’s status.
He said leaders of the businessmen forums throughout the world are given higher priorities.
Ex-president KATI Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan said the Federal Board of Revenue is the only obstacle in tax collection.
Senator Khan said there is an annual potential of Rs8,000 billion tax generation as compared to the present collection of Rs2,800 billion that too is collected after huge struggle.
A business leader from Punjab SM Naseer said Pakistan sold $500 million Eurobonds at a higher rate, which is not an achievement, as it could generate $25 billion at the same rate.
Newly elected Korangi Association of Trade and Industry President Zahid Saeed said Pakistan is losing export markets to its competitors as there is a delay in tax refunds and the trade policy.
“Unless the tax system is simplified there will be no increase in government revenue,” Saeed said.
He said Eurobonds were issued at higher mark-up and if local exporters were provided refunds they could generate more revenue and there would be no need of any loans.
“Give peace and infrastructure we will give you $25 billion exports from Karachi by 2025,” he added.
Korangi Association of Trade and Industry’s immediate past president Rashid Ahmed Siddiqui, United Business Group leader and former president FPCCI Iftikhar Ali Malik, Chairman Pakistan Tanners Association Gulzar Firoz also spoke on the occasion.

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