Pakistan's exports recorded a growth of
16.9% in 2004-05 against the target of 11.5%. Although Pakistan is eyeing on
export target of US$ 20 billion by the end of the current financial year, the
target for export has formally been set at US$ 18 billion.
In order to achieve the cherished goal
of enhanced exports, the LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali suggests that Pakistan
would have to evolve a new strategy for the promotion of trade as the exports
always play a key role in providing a solid base to the economy of any country.
Addressing a 19-member delegation of
trade officers appointed at Pakistan Missions abroad, Mian Shafqat Ali observed
that the competition from China and India is the biggest challenge confronting
the country. Both these countries have the advantage of indigenously produced
raw materials, highly skilled but cheap labour and low utility prices. Pakistan
produces good quality products but frequent hikes in the energy tariff is
rendering the country incompetitive in the international market.
Pakistani exports are highly
concentrated in few items. Five categories of exports namely cotton, leather,
rice, synthetic textiles and sports goods account for over 79% of our exports.
Similarly, exports are highly concentrated in few countries. About 50% of our
exports like engineering goods, marble and granite, precious and semi-precious
stones and jewellery, fisheries, milk products, construction, IT, finance and
accounting services and pharmaceuticals went to seven countries. CARS, Russia,
Africa, Eastern Europe, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and India could
be the most rewarding markets for Pakistani products.
He said that despite the fact that
Pakistani companies have a strong export base in textiles they have not invested
in developing their own brands and labels.
European Union is presently giving
around 64 billion Euros of subsidies to their farm sector, which is creating
problems for the export of agricultural commodities of the developing countries
to the European Union. The developed world needs to come up with a timeframe for
dealing with the issues of agricultural subsidies.
LCCI Vice President Aftab Ahmad Vohra
was of the view that there is a lot of scope for developed countries to make
investment in Pakistan. He said that it is high time to invest in Pakistan owing
to its improving indicators and investment friendly pro-active policies. There
is no limit on foreign equity and foreigners can transfer capital, profits and
dividends to their countries. No permission is required to establish any
industry in Pakistan by the foreign investors.
Pakistan offers good scope to investors
in information technology, telecommunication, textiles (value addition), oil
& gas, water & power, food & food processing, SMEs, engineering,
tourism & services. Pakistan Trade Officers abroad need to explore areas of
trade and cooperation between Pakistan and the country of their posting.
Trade Missions abroad should also
facilitate the businessmen of both the sides as frequent exchange of economic
and trade delegations to identify the areas of mutual interest, single country
exhibitions and socio-cultural programs in each other's country and
establishment of joint business forums could be helpful in boosting exports.
German business delegation, presently
visiting Pakistan, spent a busy day on Thursday last in Lahore as they had
business meetings with various top officials of the government, including Wapda
Chairman Tariq Hameed and Chief Secretary Sulman Saddique.
LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali, Vice
President Aftab Vohra, former Presidents Mian Misbahur Rehman, Mian Anjum Nisar,
former Senior Vice President Sohail Lashari and Vice President Mohammad Ali Mian
were also present at the meetings.
Dr Talat Mehmood, Chairman Pakistan
Forum, Asia Pacific Forum Berlin (APFB), led the delegation.
The Wapda Chairman gave a detailed
briefing to the delegation about the ongoing and upcoming projects of
electrification. He also invited the German delegation to make investment in
power sector projects. He informed the delegation that by the year 2007 all the
villages would be electrified.
He said that there is a great potential
for cooperation with Germany in the field of power generation and transmission
as energy requirements are growing rapidly due to the growth of the economy of
He said that as power requirements
grow, Wapda would like to benefit from Germany's experience and technology for
its hydel and thermal projects.
He said that the present government was
giving special attention towards the establishment of water resources in the
country to control the shortage of power.
Chief Secretary Sulman Siddique, during
his meeting with the German delegation, explained the Vision 2020 besides giving
an overview of the overall economic situation in general and business
opportunities available in the province of Punjab in particular.
He informed the German delegation that
in the next 10 years the province would be the hub of the business activities
therefore it is the right time for potential foreign entrepreneurs to make
He said that Punjab Chief Minister
Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was very keen to attract foreign investment in the
country and he has directed all the departments to facilitate foreign investors
in every way.
He said that not only the government
policies are very business-friendly but the atmosphere itself is very conducive.
He said that tourism and hotel
industries have a lot of scope in Punjab and the prices of land are very low as
compared to neighboring countries.
The Chief Secretary said that the
Punjab government is giving special attention towards the development of
infrastructure and the Ring Road Project is an ample proof of it.
He said that the Ring Road would not
only ease the traffic mess on the city roads but would also be help for the
industrial units being set up around Lahore.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI
President said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also
supplementing government's efforts for bringing in foreign investment through
exchange of trade delegations.
He said that the present government has
a right approach and giving a special attention towards the issues facing the
business community of the country.
He also lauded the role of President
General Pervaiz Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for turning the
country into a hub of business activities.
The LCCI Vice President Aftab Ahmad
Vohra appreciated the Punjab government's policies for foreign investors. He
said that the present government's decision to provide free land to big foreign
investors would go a long way and help invite more investment.
The former LCCI's Senior Vice President
Sohail Lashari was of the view that water treatment plants are the dire need of
the hour and the present government should complete the proposed plan as early
Earlier, the head of the delegation, Dr
Talat Mehmood gave a briefing about the German delegation. Dr Talat Mehmood is a
senior economist and providing services for foreign direct investment and joint
ventures between Pakistani and Germany.