- PM's Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood says ministry had received an email from Russia to start negotiations on bilateral trade
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday said that Commerce Ministry had received an email from Russia to start negotiations on bilateral trade.
Testifying before Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, Commerce Advisor who was part of Prime Minister’s entourage to Russia last week, revealed there were issues related to timing of the visit. “We had been told that timing of the visit to Russia was not appropriate,” he said, adding there were issues about transportation and banking in trade with Russia.
According to Razak Dawood, Russian Commerce Minister was in Dubai at the time of the recent visit of the Pakistani delegation.
The Committee headed by Senator, Zeeshan Khanzada, was informed that increase in export of onions had been witnessed whereas export of potatoes had declined.
In reply to a question as to why Pakistan’s exports are not sustained, Dawood stated that whenever a shortage was observed of any commodity in the country, a ban was imposed on export of that commodity.
“When we approach the buyers again to sell them our product, they say Pakistan is not reliable supplier as it imposes a ban on exports,” he continued.
Razak Dawood maintained that the government was taking measures to increase country’s exports.
The meeting began with an online briefing by the Trade and Investment Counselor at the Pakistani Embassy in Malaysia on bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia.
He informed the committee that Pakistan’s exports to Malaysia had reached $380 million which were earlier around $160 million. Exports in January alone were about $40 million. Rice, onion, maize and textiles are the major commodities imported from Pakistan to Malaysia. Rice exports have increased from 126MT to 347MT. Exports of onions was 183MT, Maize 169MT and textiles also increased significantly.
On the occasion, Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Muhammad Afridi said there were excellent business opportunities in the textile sector in Malaysia and the government needed to focus on that and Faisalabad industry could play a key role in this regard. These opportunities can be taken full advantage of by improving coordination. Chairman Committee Senator Zeeshan Khanzada appreciated the efforts of the Trade Counselor and hoped that those efforts would further increase the trade volume between Pakistan and Malaysia and reduce the trade deficit.
In the Senate session, the question raised by Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman regarding the exchange of various delegations for the promotion of international trade in the last three years was discussed in detail.
The Secretary of Commerce said the whole world was suffering from travel difficulties due to the Corona epidemic due to which visits of trade delegations to Europe, South Asia and China were not possible. Afghanistan and Central Asian countries have been the focus of attention in this regard.
After consultation with all stakeholders to promote trade in Central Asia and Afghanistan, only concerned persons were taken with the delegation. He added Pakistani business community could apply to the ministry to be part of the delegation on any visit.
The Secretary Commerce further said the businessmen of the four provinces had been given equal opportunities on international tours and members of the Chambers of Commerce of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had also been included.
FPCCI officials gave a detailed briefing to the committee regarding the budget year 2022/23 recommendations. The briefing included real estate development and valuation, income tax and sales tax audit, widening of tax net, turnover tax, incentives for small and medium enterprises, mining industry status, minerals.
These included value addition, construction of dams in Balochistan, completion of raw canals, organic agricultural production in Balochistan, conversion of traditional farming methods to modern techniques, vertical farming techniques, incentives for livestock and fisheries. The Commerce Secretary said the ministry had sought budget recommendations by March 31.
The Pakistani business community should submit all its recommendations to the Ministry in writing before March 31. Commerce Secretary assured the participants that all suggestions would be seriously considered. Senator Ahmed Khan expressed his concerns over the price of steel in Pakistan.
Senator Ahmed Khan said the price of steel products in Pakistan was very high and the steel mafia was behind it. The steel sector has a profit margin of 30-40 percent which has a direct impact on the construction sector. Senator Ahmed Khan also expressed concern over the performance of auto industry in Pakistan. He said the vehicles manufactured in Pakistan were substandard which was leading to loss of precious lives in accidents.
Senator Ahmad Khan demanded that a special committee be formed to look into the matter. Chairman Committee Senator Zeeshan Khanzada reiterated his commitment to take up the matter at the relevant forum and said he would take up the matter with the Engineering Development Board.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman Senate, Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Ahmed Khan, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Muhammad Abdul Qadir, Senator Dinesh Kumar, Senator Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Trade, Textiles, Industry and Production and Investment Abdul Razaq Dawood, Secretary Commerce, Chairperson National Tariff Commission and officials from various Chambers of Commerce attended.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022