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Country Lacks Short And Long Term Policies For Enhancement Of Trade And Exports

Interview with Mr Ghazanfer Ali Khan (A Renowned Industrialist)

Mr Ghazanfer Ali Khan is the director of a leading auto parts manufacturing company in Pakistan. He is also a member of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) standing committees handling different committees for the past decade.

PAGE: How would you comment on the trade of Pakistan with the world?

Ghazanfer Ali Khan: The trade deficit says everything about the trade between Pakistan and the world. We are far behind in many things. If you take my industry, the basic pillars of the industry are missing. Raw material is imported, machinery is imported, expertise is imported, HR skill level is low etc. Hence there are huge gaps in each industry which have not been addressed. I still agree that this country does not have short and long term trade policies in place for enhancement of trade and exports.

The following policies need to be implemented:

  • How to start making raw material in Pakistan (Steel, PVC etc.)
  • How to bring in more FDI
  • Skill Development Policy of HR
  • Quantum jump in exports policy
  • Design houses
  • FTAs and PTAs
  • Tariff Structure etc.

PAGE: Your comments on exports:

Ghazanfer Ali Khan: Pakistan is very week in exports, but that does not mean we cannot export our products to the world. I am exporting parts made in Pakistan to all parts of the world. My exports are small but they are enhancing every year. The government needs to be serious in this matter.

We need to:

  • Start doing a SWOT analysis of each industry and find its markets abroad
  • Market Research needs to be strong
  • Commercial Councilors need to be mobilized
  • Exhibitions need to booked with proper branding of Pakistan as the next destination for manufacturing
  • Road Shows, liaisons with associations and Chambers etc.

PAGE: Your views on Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and China:

Ghazanfer Ali Khan: China according to me is the only country in the world that was ready to transfer technology to Pakistan for any industry. But we have no match to the giant economy of China. There are a lot of grey areas in our agreement with China over which I may have reservations, but we really need to sit down and calculate the short-term and long-term prospects and constraints of this agreement. I personally think we have signed the first agreement without doing any kind of research on the aftermath of this huge step. Nevertheless, there is huge investment in Pakistan after a long time. The world is once again looking at Pakistan as a lucrative future destination, and that is all because of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement. Once again all of our industries are week as compared to China’s industries. We need a level playing ground to compare with them. Introduction of joint ventures and technology collaboration should be the key points of this second round of talks.

PAGE: How would you comment on trade of Pakistan with India?

Ghazanfer Ali Khan: Trade with India, once again is the same as China. The only difference is that we have fought three wars with India. We need a level playing ground. India’s policies have started giving them fruit as now it is considered one of the top economies of world. It has retaliated very quickly with new tariffs for USA as the US announced their new tariffs. It is a smart country.

Wars are not the answers. If we do want to prosper we will have to sooner or later sit down with India regarding trade. But currently we don’t have any leverage.

PAGE: Your views on industrial revolution in Pakistan:

Ghazanfer Ali Khan: Industrial revolution is happening but very slowly. With the current scenario of the country, if we don’t capitalize on our mistakes and don’t upgrade ourselves, we will be working for foreign occupants very soon.

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