ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has not been able to make any progress to tap the trade benefits out of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor so far. Pakistan could not explore all the available avenues and aspects offered by CPEC due to wide ranging difference between Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2015-2018 devised by MoC and CPEC.
Therefore, the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, while discussing the missing link between the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2015-2018 and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), urged the MoC to revise STPF 2015-18 to incorporate vision and approach of CPEC in it.
Academia and the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry needed to play an active role and conduct research pertaining to China Pakistan Economic Corridor to explore its full potential.
Senate Commerce Committee met here with Senator Shibli Faraz in the chair to discuss issues related to declining exports, impacts of FTAs on local industry as well as exploring the investment potential of Pakistani who had left Pakistan since long.
The committee took note of different factors major contributors to the decline in the trend of exports from $23.9 billion dollars to $20.8 billion dollars in 2016 and also discussed the possible reasons for the current halt in the trend.
The committee was briefed by the Ministry of Commerce regarding different steps taken by it to increase the volume of exports. But the House was of view that it was rather the structural issues that need to be addressed and an enhanced role of Parliament can best address it. The Committee asserted that it is necessary pertinent that a long term vision be developed to achieve the desired volume of exports.
The Standing Committee was briefed by the representative from the Ministry of Commerce regarding the impacts of FTA’s to local industries and the House noted that there was usually a lack of transparency with respect to different FTAs which not only limited the opportunities offered by FTAs, but also at times camouflaged the possible negative provisions.
The Committee was of opinion that the interests of local businesses should be the utmost priority and shall be kept in mind while signing any FTA.