PM Shehbaz Directs Formulating Export-Friendly Trade Policy

PM Shehbaz Directs Formulating Export-Friendly Trade Policy

Islamabad, May 10, 2024 – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has instructed government officials to craft a new trade policy that prioritizes export enhancement and is friendly to business interests.

This directive was issued during a high-level meeting on trade, which the Prime Minister chaired on Friday.

Prime Minister Shehbaz emphasized the urgent need to focus on the competitiveness of Pakistan’s exports. He outlined several key directives, including promoting non-traditional goods for export and ensuring the timely payment of certified duty drawbacks to exporters to improve liquidity and reduce operational hurdles.

Highlighting the essential role of the private sector in economic growth, the Prime Minister insisted on involving business leaders in the policymaking process. He also called for the implementation of the deletion policy in the auto sector to reduce dependency on imported components and foster local industry.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Shehbaz announced a plan to enhance accountability and performance in Pakistan’s trade and investment sectors. He ordered a comprehensive review of trade officers stationed in Pakistani missions abroad, advocating a policy of rewarding high performers while removing those who fail to meet required standards. He also committed to personally conducting fortnightly reviews of the export sectors to ensure continuous attention and improvement.

During the meeting, attendees discussed several critical trade-related developments. Notably, the ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Gulf states are reportedly in the final stages, and successful transit trade agreements with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been finalized.

The meeting also highlighted the success of the recent Pak-Saudi Business Conference, which facilitated around 450 business-to-business meetings. The growth in e-commerce was also discussed, with over 3,000 firms now registered on the Pakistan Trade Portal, signaling robust activity in this sector.

Additional topics included the effective monitoring of the Afghan Transit Trade, the strong performance of public sector insurance companies, and the finalization of a Gem Export Framework. The meeting also covered the initial approval of a barter trade agreement with Russia and the ongoing discussions for Preferential Trade Agreements with Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.

In support of innovation and technological advancement, legislation is underway to establish a Technology and Innovation Fund aimed at industrial development.

The meeting was attended by several key figures, including Federal Ministers Jam Kamal Khan, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Dr. Musaddik Malik, Ahad Khan Cheema, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Jahanzeb Khan, the State Bank Governor, and other senior officers. This gathering underscores the government’s proactive approach to reshaping Pakistan’s trade environment in a way that fosters growth, innovation, and international competitiveness.