Commerce Ministry fails to introduce Strategic Trade Policy Framework

ISLAMABAD: Commerce Ministry has failed to introduce much delayed Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STFP) that could help devise a strategy to enhance exports and curtail imports, said former Chairman Standing Committee of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Ahmad Jawad.

Talking to media on Thursday, Jawad said the previous policy had expired on June 2015 and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had already rejected the draft of STFP and directed the Ministry of Commerce to formulate new policy that should include measures designed to give a quantum jump to declining exports, as Commerce Ministry remained tight lipped regarding STPF’s announcement date, he added.

He said: “There is a crucial need for holding a comprehensive public-private dialogue (PPD) to be initiated by the Ministry for effective STFP. Public-private dialogue creates a foundation for market-friendly policies that deepen economic reform and enhance national competitiveness.” He added: “Due to past policies, the country’s horticulture exports are on the verge of destruction and if the government does not announce any incentives for this sector, ultimately it will begin protests.”

Yet Pakistan’s horticulture sector could not compete in the international markets. Jawad said the government must give push to horticulture sector to support the declining factor of country exports. “As Pakistan have an immense potential, horticulture exports could grow to iconic proportions and touch as high as $7 billion in the next coming years if Research and Development (R&D) is vigorously pursued and required infrastructure is established.”

“Currently world horticulture trade more than $ 80 billion in which Pakistan share is too meagre. Pakistani fruits and vegetables have great export potential that needs to be harnessed to capture hungry world markets where Pakistani mangoes, dates and kinnow as well as Pakistan halal meat in particular, are in great demand,” said Jawad.

He further stressed that the only way to capture the global market is to process, add value and improve the shelf life of the perishable commodities to benefit small farmers and also the country at large