CONSOLIDATING EXPORT POTENTIALS

INTERVIEW: CHIEF EXECUTIVE TDAP

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Nov 1 - 7, 20
10

Tariq Iqbal Puri has assumed the responsibility as chief executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) recently. He looked quite comfortable with the new position primarily because of his long association with the organisation as well as his extensive exposure to the business at domestic and international fronts.

Having a great amount of confidence in his tone while explaining future plans for capitalising on enormous export potentials in an interview, Tariq shared his plans and views as how to give a new look to the export regime of the country.

Besides coordinated and concerted efforts by all stakeholders including export houses, related government organisations, all foreign missions would be streamlined for adding new vision to the exports of the country, said Tariq Puri and adding we are organising sessions of our fashion designers with known fashion designers with a view to transfer of technology, taste of the buyers in the choosey markets besides activating all commercial counselors at foreign missions abroad for prompt exchange of market information and developments taking place in the global market.

In this respect, TDAP is in the process of installing a portal that would help exchange of information at the buyers and the sellers end and help promoting interaction with all relevant quarters, he said.

Basically, methods of exports and the tools for promoting exports are well known. However, what makes it different is the environment in which you are working for promoting export from your country. Unfortunately, over the years adhocism has been the hallmark of our policies, which usually make things unpredictable. For example, what one has done for external trade is done away and replaced by new inductions whenever the next man comes. "With this background Tariq said I would not go into details what had been done in the past instead I would rather prefer to make things result oriented in the shortest possible time as we have lost a lot of precious time in the past. There is no dearth of experienced hands with us while we have also hired a number of young and talented people as well to make a combination of the experienced and the fresh people because the youngsters despite their talents need direction and guidelines to achieve targeted results.

Probably, TDAP is a unique organisation in the sense that it is doing export promotion through organising trade exhibitions and sending trade delegations at a massive scale which he felt would definitely produce results in the time to come. Tariq said with a great deal of confidence that the support being provided to the exporters in Pakistan is unparallel in the world. However, what is needed to be done is the improvement of the quality both of the exporting methods and exportable goods because it is the quality which gives one an edge over others, he remarked.

Soon after assuming the responsibility, I have taken few basic steps such as creating unity and coordination amongst all departments of the authority in order to achieve better results. After putting the house in order, we are trying to develop linkages with all relevant quarters including all international organisations, Pakistan's foreign missions, our counterpart organisations in all the world. In this respect, the TDAP's portal will play a significant role in converting the inflow of information from all over the world into knowledge and this knowledge would be available to stakeholders especially all importers, exporters or to any public entity related to the export business. This forthcoming portal expected to be operational within next few weeks would portray a new face of TDAP with a window to the treasure of significant information facilitating the exporters or importers, foreign missions, government functionaries at their own place that would naturally save time of visiting the TDAP office for getting required knowledge and improved communication.

EXPORT BASKET

When his attention was invited towards the export basket of the country which consists of limited items like cotton and textile, rice and leather and leather products giving a clear impression about lack of diversification in exportable items, TDAP Chief said that with the market access granted by the European Union recently, it was emphasised on Pakistan to focus on minor textile items such as trousers for women. So far we are sending trousers for men while a huge market for women trousers is untapped. This segment of textile products has a great demand besides offering much higher price as compared to men trousers, he mentioned just for an example. He disclosed that with the market accessibility Pakistan has been allowed duty free export of women trousers.

Tariq said that in this regard we are focusing on such minor items like kitchen textile, towels, and other small items for which we are hiring fashion designers as well as making efforts for targeted marketing of such items. We are developing our marketing teams in Europe who would be attached with fashion designers who know better the fashion demands of the European market. This would help collection of designs besides transfer of knowledge that would help in catering to the needs of the European markets. He said it is extremely important to know about the market requirement of those countries so that we could put our time and efforts for producing goods to meet the market requirement instead of producing conventional items not matching to styles and fashion of that market. There are a number of textile items which we can produce but so far have not produced despite having capacity to produce them. We would also focus on those neglected items, he remarked.

When asked what would be the impact of the grant of the access of Pakistan products to EU market, Tariq after a pause said immediately, it is difficult to measure in terms of value, however over a period of time this would help earning at least from half a billion to one billion dollar.

On the question of rising cost of inputs specially abnormal increase in electricity prices making products uncompetitive in the world market, Tariq agreed to some extent, however was of the view that the forthcoming special economic zones would address this issue to a great extent as these zones have been allowed to install independent power plants to generate electricity. Hopefully, this would address the issue of higher power tariffs at least for the industrial consumers, he said.