Officials vow to avoid EU ban on mango export

KARACHI: Officials of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD), International Trade Centre (ITC), Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Trade Related Technical Assistance Program (TRTA)for Pakistan, Exporters and Growers Associations, and others respective bodies institutes on Monday gathered to deliberate over devising a joint strategy to avoid anticipated ban on Pakistani mango and other fruits to European countries.

Mango import from India has been banned by European Union (EU) while Pakistan has been shown a yellow card due to low quality issue.

A Public Private Dialogue (PPD) was held here in local hotel in which the issue of threats to mango export to EU countries was discussed in details and different suggestions were given by the participants on how to improve the quality of Pakistani mangoes, export mechanism to meet international standard and avoid EU ban. The event was organized by ITC.

Aamir Abdullah Zaki, President KCCI, while addressing the inaugural session of the PPD said that the government, private sector and other stakeholders need to join hands and work collaboratively to address the challenges being confronted by orange and mango sector in Pakistan. He said that in this connection PPD was a vital platform to play an active role in this regard.

He highlighted the problems associated with the mango sectors and urged the need to improve infrastructure, quality of produce, improvement in post harvest treatments and transportation. He stated that to every problem that exists contains a solution and hence we should work on this.

Ms Rabiya Javeri Agha, Secretary TDAP, informed that TDAP is in contact with the Quarantine Department to establish a Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) plant. She said: “Exports of mango from India has been banned by EU and we may use this as an opportunity to increase our exports or face the same destiny by not reforming and adhering to international standards”. She stressed the need to reform to avoid a ban from the EU.

Sajid Hussain, DG PITAD, said that the usefulness of the PPD mechanism has contributed to the policies of the government.

Bruno Valanzuolo, Chief Technical Advisor, TRTA programme, highlighted the importance of compliance with sanitary & phytosanitary issues and international standards. He stressed that due to non-compliance with these standards, hundreds of consignments of Pakistani mango and citrus are rejected every year. He said that yellow cards are shown to Pakistani exporters for non-compliance which may ultimately result in a red card to ban the exports. He highlighted that this is the time to act and work collectively to avert the impeding ban.

Mohammad Owais Khan, Programme Officer ITC, welcomed the participants and highlighted the rationale, process and mechanism of the PPD. He highlighted the efforts undertaken to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders on international trade issues and the institutionalization of PPD mechanism.

He informed that a public private dialogue steering committee has been established with the approval of Ministry of Commerce which steers the process of PPDs and attendant policy research. He urged the stakeholders to come up with their recommendations for policy reform and actively participate in the dialogue so that the real issues are captured and addressed.

More than ninety stakeholders from public sector, private sector civil society and academia participated in the PPD. There was a technical session which was chaired and moderated by Ms Rabiya Javeri Agha Secretary TDAP. Panel discussions from public and private sector commented on the findings of the research study which was commissioned by ITC under the TRTA programme and presented during the session.

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