Trade: (ICCI asks govt to focus on promoting high tech industry)

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has called upon the government to focus on promoting high tech industry in order to improve trade and exports as the current focus on manufacturing of low value products remained unsuccessful to make Pakistan a worthwhile competitor in international export market.

Exchanging views with a delegation of local industrialists here on Friday, Atif Ikram Sheikh President, Sheikh Pervez Ahmed Senior Vice President and Sheikh Abdul Waheed Vice President, ICCI said that countries like South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore have focused on high tech products due to which their annual exports have exceeded $570 billion, $524 billion and $ 518 billion respectively, but it was unfortunate that despite possessing huge natural resources, strategic geographical location and other benefits, Pakistan’s exports were still less than $25 billion which should be a cause of concern for policymakers.

They said the export of high tech products was on the rise in the world as the share of medium and high tech products in world’s manufacturing and trade was more than 65 percent.

However, about 87 percent of Pakistan’s total manufacturing was still confined to low-tech products and 60 percent of our exports related to textile sector which constituted only about 3 percent of the total world’s trade due to which Pakistan was losing export market to other competitors.

They emphasized that government must focus on engineering goods industry which accounted for 50 percent of the total manufacturing and around $6 trillion of world exports. They identified industrial machinery, high value-added chemicals, pharmaceuticals, household appliances, computers, electronics, automobile, agro-food industry, mining and ship-building as key industries which needed priority attention and preferential incentives from the government to turn around the declining share of Pakistan in world trade.

The delegation stressed that government should reprioritize its economic development strategy and come up with a new vision to lure investment in high technology manufacturing in order to put the country on sustainable path of economic growth.

They said government should make significant hike in budgetary allocations for education, science and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, develop more technology parks, establish venture capital funds and provide better incentives to private sector for R and D. They said these measures would lay a strong foundation for manufacturing of high tech products that would take Pakistan to higher levels of economic development.