PM for early finalization of strategy to implement e-Commerce, National Tariff policies to benefit business community

ISLAMABAD:Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday called for early finalization of the strategy to implement the e-Commerce and National Tariff policies, already approved by the cabinet, so as to benefit the business community from its fruits.

Presiding over a meeting here to review the performance of Commerce Ministry, he said promotion of exports was the foremost priority of the government.

The meeting was attended by Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Secretary Commerce Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and other senior officers.

During the meeting, the prime minister was given a detailed briefing on the implementation of targets set by the Ministry of Commerce, future strategy, specially the introduction of Pakistani products at international level, and enhancing the country’s exports.

The prime minister directed that in order to enhance the exports, targets should be fixed and the role of relevant departments be determined. The set targets should be reviewed on quarterly and biannually basis so as to ensure their achievement, he added.

The secretary commerce apprised the meeting of policy, institutional, tariff and legal reforms, correction of trade balance as well as the measures taken by the Commerce Division during the last six months to enhance exports, check imports and improve trade diplomacy.

The meeting was told that with the e-Commerce and National Tariff policies already approved by the cabinet, the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2025 had been finalized. Export and Import Policy Order had also been finalized whereas finalization of Textile Policy 2020-25 was underway.

Regarding the institutional reforms, the meeting was informed that the Textile Division had been merged with the Commerce Division, while the Tariff Policy Center had also been set up in the National Tariff Commission.

The meeting was further told that for the promotion of industrial sectors, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) had been reconstituted, while corporate culture was being introduced in the State life Insurance Corporation.

Similarly, various institutions like Pakistan Institute of Fashion Designing, Pakistan Tobacco Board etc. had been placed under the relevant ministries. The process of shifting National Textile University to the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training had also been initiated.

Regarding the tariff reforms, the meeting was told that customs duty had been withdrawn on 1635 raw material items in the Federal Budget 2019-20. Besides the approval of National Tariff Policy, the Tariff Policy Board had also been established, and the process of reforms under the National Tariff Commission had been initiated.

About the legal reforms, the meeting was apprised that in order to protect Pakistani products, legislation process for introducing a Geographical Indexation Law had been initiated, and after the approval from cabinet, the proposed law had been referred to the relevant sub-committee.

Regarding the efforts for correction of trade balance, the meeting was told that with over 15% decrease in trade deficit recorded in fiscal year 2018-19, the first six months (July-December 2019-20) of current fiscal had witnessed 30.38% decrease in trade deficit.

The prime minister was told that for the promotion of Pakistani products and enhancing exports, the country participated in 150 international trade fairs and exhibitions during the last few months.

Besides the holding of TEXPO Pakistan event, trade and investment conferences were also organized in Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul for the promotion of Pakistani products.

The prime minister was apprised that besides the exhibition of Pakistani Truck Art, renowned Italian designer Stella Jean, during the Pakistan specific fashion week in Milan, exhibited the ladies dresses of Kailash, Chitral and Hunza.

The secretary commerce also briefed the meeting about removing the hurdles in the way of enhancing the exports.

The meeting was also briefed about the measures to further strengthen trade relations with China, Africa, Russia, South America and Indonesia.