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KARACHI: Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) Vice President Ahmad Jawad has said Pakistan has an immense potential in the sectors of mines, mineral, halal meat, textiles and horticulture commodities and China can easily shift its imports toward Pakistan provided China made easier conditions for Pakistani products as a special arrangement in the light of new policy shift.

He said that China and Pakistan bilateral trade relation requires to be enhanced for economic prosperity of Pakistan and it’s vital for strengthening CPEC further. “It’s time China should make economic agreement with Pakistan on the pattern of Iran so that both countries bilateral trade may reach $100bn in next decade with the parity of level playing field.”

He said although Pakistan’s trade deficit with China has declined in recent years, it may still be an important factor affecting the sustained and healthy development of bilateral trade.

Since the first phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement came into effect, bilateral trade volume has increased from USD 2.2 billion in 2005 to USD 15.6 billion in 2019 which was nothing.

However, 75 percent of Pakistan’s exports to China are concentrated in a few products such as cotton and rice, leading to a large export deficit with China; If Special Economic Zones are developed in the country as planned, Pakistan can attain quality and price that would help it export of goods to China.

“What we seek from China is to give us technology and value addition; touching $100bn figure in next decade should not be difficult for both countries”.

At the same time, Pakistan should also improve its supporting service systems such as warehousing, cold chain, and logistics to promote the transformation and upgrading of its agriculture and industry.Jawad said, “The problem with Pakistan’s exporters and policymakers is that they are complacent to the core. Once they hit a high performance mark in a given market, they never bother to aim for reaching an even higher mark next year.”

A change in trade policy factoring in all the possibilities in global trade dynamics is a must. There is perhaps a greater need for promoting intra-regional trade to take advantage of the economy of trade.

“Government must renegotiate some provisions of its trade deal with Beijing with the exclusive purpose of promoting exports to Chinese markets. It is desirable and it is possible,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021