LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has expressed the hope that upcoming Trade Policy will be focused on enhancement of export competitiveness of the country.
In a statement, the LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that economic challenges, particularly low exports and high trade deficit have underlined the need for a well-consulted and powerful trade policy which can perform as driving force for the economy.
The LCCI Office-bearers said, government should realize that the country needs a paradigm shift to enable local businessmen to become globally competitive and can export those products which are valued more in the international market.
The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that today the country’s industry is facing multiple challenges including high input cost, poor innovation, low productivity, little foreign investment, lack of product & geographical diversification. They said that the high utility prices are the major factor therefore the government should focus on the issue that has not only jacked up the cost of doing business in the country but also fast making us uncompetitive. They said that the government would have to tackle pressing supply side constraints including cost of capital on priority basis for enhancing competitiveness as Pakistani merchandise are fast losing their due place in the global market only because their high prices.
The LCCI office-bearers also urged the government to focus on South America and African Union where competition is low and profits are high. They said that country’s exports can become an engine of growth and prosperity in Pakistan, if relevant institutions, both in public and private sectors implement a well tailored, well consulted and widely discussed strategy. They also suggested introduction of a new scheme for exports under which zero-rated import of some inputs should be allowed. They said that a little attention towards to identification of new markets for Pakistani merchandise can do a lot for the country and in this regard, Pakistani missions abroad and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is ready to play a proactive role.
They said that oil import bill is one of the major reasons of high trade deficit therefore, alternative fuels and resources should be promoted. They said that duty-free import of plants, machinery and equipment should be allowed for establishment of new industries. They said that machinery and spare parts should be imported from the nearest countries while institutions should be established to produce skilled manpower for mining sector. They said that Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) should support Pakistani delegations visiting abroad. They said that garments cities should be established in Lahore, Karachi and Faisalabad while expo centers in other cities should also be established.