TRADE POLICY 2007-08
Focus on rice, fresh fruits, vegetable and slaughter houses to meet export target of $19b
July 23 - 29, 2007
The Trade Policy announced by the Federal Minister for Commerce, Humayum Akhter Khan while seeking diversification in exports to meet the export target of $19.2 billion in the financial year 2007-08. It lays special emphasis on developing agro-based manufacturing, fresh fruits, and livestock development to enhance the export base of the country.
In order to development export quality slaughter houses the government would provide financial assistance from the Export Development Fund to the professionally skilled investors. In this connection the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has been assigned the task to develop a scheme for development of quality slaughter houses in the country.
So for the private sector was engaged in exporting traditional varieties of rice i.e. Basmati and Irri-6 or recently developed variety of parboil rice. The new trade policy has identified Japonica rice produce in Sawat and other Northern parts of the country to include in the export basket. This variety has a good market in all countries of the East could add valuable contribution in overall exports of rice from Pakistan. The government is hiring an international consultant to exploit this variety in the international market.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
In a bid to enhance exports of fruits and vegetables, and floricultures, it has been decided to set up 39 well-equipped pack houses on the spot at 31 fruits and vegetable growing areas all over the country. Besides modern pack houses cold storage and controlled atmosphere storage at 23 farm places, airports and sea ports would also be set up to avert heavy losses due to damage of perishable food items, especially fruits and vegetables.
In this respect, two container yards one each at Lahore and Karachi would be set up with a pool of 200 refrigerated containers at each location. Karachi pool will be serving the farmers of Sindh and Balochistan while Lahore pool would cater to the need of Punjab and NWFP farmers. An equity fund is also being initiated with a view to acquire overseas brands and establishment of sanitary and phyto-sanitary facilities and testing labs to increase the exports of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Iqbal Ebrahim, Acting Chairman APTMA while appreciating the Trade Policy has expressed his satisfaction that the Association's well-researched proposals have largely been accommodated in the new trade policy. The measures initiated in the policy will yield benefit not only to the Textile Export Industry but to the economy as a whole.
Iqbal Ebrahim particularly pointed out that matters that directly affect market access in international trade have been dealt with squarely in the Trade Policy. The measures announced will ensure a long-term benefit for the export efforts of Pakistan. Areas in which individual exporters faced difficulties have been taken up to be addressed institutionally by the Government. The steps announced will ensure Pakistan's competitiveness in the global market. The Government has shown resolution to give impetus to Pakistan's international trade by removing constraints, enhancing competitiveness and increasing exposure of Pakistan's products in international markets.
The textile industry which is a leading player in the field of export has however urged the Government to address pending issues in the forthcoming Textile Policy to overcome the prevailing textile industry crisis so that the industry is enabled to effectively avail measures announced in the Trade Policy by making further investment to create exportable surplus.
Majority of the following measures were put forth by the Association for incorporation in the Trade Policy:
Long Term Financing of Export Oriented Projects (LTF-EOP) for Compact Spinning & Locally Manufactured Machinery.
Export Oriented Units (EOUs): The scheme will essentially have the same incentives as are available to units in the EPZs. Existing units exporting at least 80% of their production shall be eligible for registration (with FBR) under the scheme. New units, so registered, will be required to export 100% of their production.
Research and Development (R&D): Continuation of R & D support to Home Textiles & Garments @ 6%.
Skill Development Board: Textile Garments and Home Textiles Skill Development Board has been established in the Ministry of Textile Industry. The government is also providing funds required for affiliation of this Board with Foreign Institutes.
Contamination Free Cotton: A training Institute is being established with funding from the Export Development Fund for training farmers and ginners in production of contamination free cotton. Quality control standards are being developed for cotton, and a research centre is being established at R.Y. Khan for development of quality cotton.
Equity Fund: To establish an equity fund, upto 50% of equity capital investment in acquisition of venture & brand acquisition.
Tariff Rationalization initiative: On the recommendations of Ministry of Commerce a slab of 0% has been created. Tariff reforms will continue with the point of view of eliminating the anti-export bias and encouraging export-led growth.
Strengthening Domestic Commerce: The scope of the newly created 'Domestic Commerce Wing' in the Ministry of Commerce will be enlarged to induct core experts and consultants for preparation of specific action plans / projects for improving the state of domestic commerce.
Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs): U.S. market access @ 0% or ROZ.
Support for Marketing of Branded Products: to provide 50% cost sharing in their media promotion plan and 50% cost of shelf space for branded products in leading retail outlets.
Assistance for opening exporters' offices abroad: To provide 50% subsidy in rentals and 50% subsidy in salaries for 3 employees, for 3 years with a suitable cap.
Under the policy international consultants will be engaged on cost sharing basis for the textile value chain through EDF. Social, Environment & Security Compliance: The level of the subsidy will be increased to 100% for ISO 9000, ISO 14000, OHSAS 18001, SA 8000, WRAP, EKOTEX, and BSCI.