ISLAMABAD: Amid disappointing performance of the commerce ministry and dwindling exports as a consequence, the ministry has set scores of targets to be achieved by the end of this year in a bid to improve its performance.
According to ministry sources, the ministry has prepared a 21-point target list and circulated it among attached departments with the directive for action to meet them by December 31, 2016.
Pakistan’s trade balance negative with 84 nations
According to a working paper available with The Express Tribune, the key targets include revamping the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and signing the under-discussion free trade agreements (FTAs) with Turkey and Thailand by the end of this year.
Other key targets include monitoring commercial officers, finalisation of e-trade roadmap with legislation and notifications to formalise e-commerce in the country, tabling Geographical Indication Bill in parliament, regular monitoring of attached departments, regular monitoring of implementation of the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) and finalisation of brand selection by the TDAP.
The inauguration of Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD) building and groundbreaking of Sargodha Dry Port are also in the list of targets.
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Besides establishment of banking relations with Iran, restoration of government-to-government and commercial relations with Russia has also been targeted to be achieved by the end of this year.
Notification of rules for the Export Development Council and export development centres for leather, rice, value-added textile, gems and jewellery, horticulture and pharmaceutical is also mentioned among the targets.
The appointment of remaining CEOs, chairpersons and boards of all the attached departments of the ministry is also the priority target.
Additionally, the targets include receipts of Export Development Fund (EDF) in full from the Ministry of Finance as approved by the prime minister in the STPF and submission of proposals outlining incentives for officers in the ministry.
Lastly, it has also been planned by the ministry to submit a proposal for restructuring of World Trade Organization (WTO) wing to make it more vibrant.
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Ministry sources said the minister had been under pressure due to the rapid decline in the country’s exports since the current government took over from $24 billion to $20 billion despite setting an export target of $35 billion for 2018.
Pakistan’s trade balance is negative with as many as 84 countries and the highest trade deficit is with China, standing at $9.1 billion.
According to data, the most negative trade balance after China is with the United Arab Emirates at $4.8 billion, $2.6 billion with Saudi Arabia, $1.9 billion with Indonesia, $1.6 billion with Kuwait and $1.35 billion with India.
Courtesy : Express Tribune