Islamabad, May 04, 2015 (PPI-OT): 64th meeting of the Advisory Council was held to seek proposals for the third Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2015-18 was held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan. Representatives of Ministry of Textile, National Food Security and Research, Industries and Production, Water and Power, Science and Technology, Information Technology, Board of Investment, SMEDA, State Bank of Pakistan, provincial Governments, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, District Chambers, exporters Associations and Academia participated in the meeting and put forth their proposals for the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2015-18.
In his inaugural remarks, the Minister for Commerce said that the Government is endeavouring to present a realistic, stable, predictable and transparent medium-term trade policy framework which could effectively address the issues confronted by the exporters of Pakistan. He said that with improving peace and enhanced energy availability in the country, the investors will regain confidence and start investing in the country. He was of the view that priority of the Government is to initiate policies which could reduce the cost and enhance the ease of doing business in the country.
The Council was informed that the Ministry of Commerce sought proposals from all the relevant stake holders during the formulation of STPF and received 800 proposals. These proposals were thoroughly scrutinized in the Ministry and several of them will find their way into the final draft of the policy framework.
The participants put forward numerous proposals and emphasized the importance of bringing consistency in the economic policies. It was proposed that the Ministry of Commerce should work to improve the marketing and branding of Pakistani products abroad by effectively using its trade missions. Government support in seeking costly international certifications was sought as this will help the small exporters to reach high-ended lucrative Western markets.
It was proposed that to enhance the exports of perishable items, the Government should enhance air cargo space in the national carrier. The participants proposed that the Government should negotiate visa issues with its trading partners so that businessmen may travel at considerable ease. The participants also proposed duty and tax exemptions which the Ministry will look into in detail.
In his concluding remarks, Secretary Ministry of Commerce said that to improve transparency, the Ministry is rationalizing its tariff structure and reviewing the concessionary regime. In this regard a High Powered Committee headed by the Finance Minister, comprising representatives of different ministries, divisions and trade bodies across the country has been constituted.
He said that the new Strategic Trade Policy Framework will have policy thrust in building supply side capacities, strengthening business environment, creating new market opportunities and increasing our share in existing markets. In order to ensure the timely implementation of the new trade policy framework, comprehensive business processes are being developed simultaneously with the policy initiatives. The business processes will be notified concurrently with the announcement of STPF 2015-18.
A mechanism for mid-course correction of the policy has been developed. The Ministry plans to hold Advisory Council meetings annually to invite input for corrections and adjustments in policy initiatives without compromising on the basic framework of the three-year policy.
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