Pakistan must expand its export basket by exploring market of non-traditional items; this was stated by Sheikh Sultan Rehman, Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in a webinar on “Promotion of Exports of Non Traditional Items” organized by FPCCI Head Office Karachi, Regional Office Lahore and Capital Office Islamabad via Zoom Video Conference.
The Webinar was attended by Zubair Baweja, Vice President FPCCI, Mr. Riaz Sheikh, Acting Secretary TDAP, Mr. Zakaria Usman Former President FPCCI, Mr. Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, Former Vice President FPCCI, Ms Qaisra Sheikh Coordinator Women Entrepreneurs, Ms Mehreen Ilahi President Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry District East Karachi and Executive Committee and General Body Members of FPCCI.
While welcoming the participants, Sheikh Sultan Rehman, Vice President FPCCI stated that Pakistan’s exports are stagnant between US$ 20 billion to US$ 25 billion since many years. He added that Pakistan has limited its exports to few items i.e. textile, carpet, sports, leather and surgical items which contributed more than 75 percent in exports of Pakistan. At present, Pakistan is facing tough competition from regional countries in terms of cost of production, quality and economy of scale. HE underlined the need of promotion of handicrafts, softwares, vegetables, fruits, dry fruits, livestock, chemical, dairy products etc. He also emphasized on exploration of non-traditional market with non-traditional items.
Mr. Riaz Sheikh, Acting Secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) appreciated the exports performance of Pakistan which is comparably better than the other countries despite the fact that COVID-19 resulted in lock down of all provinces of Pakistan for three months. Pakistan has started exports of sanitizers and surgical mask to the COVID-19 affected countries. He further informed that TDAP is giving 60% subsidy to non-traditional items and 80% to non-traditional markets. He suggested the need of organizing single country exhibition in Central Asian countries, Africa and South America region for marketing of non-traditional items. He also appreciated the role of commercial counselors of Pakistan for deferring the exports contract of Pakistan during the period of COVID-19.
Mr. Zubair Baweja, Vice President FPCCI stated that exports is an engine of economic growth and Pakistan can walk on path of economic by enhancing its exports.
Mr. Zakaria Usman, Former President FPCCI added that the enhancement of exports is need of the hour for earning of foreign exchange. He underscored the need of incentives to be given by the government on the exports of non-traditional items. He also urged new investment in import substitution in plastic and agro based industries in order to save foreign exchange. At present, per capita consumption of plastic is more than 100 kg in developed countries while it is average 60 kg in Pakistan. He also suggested the government to increase the private sector credit for investment in non-traditional sector.
Ms. Qaisra Sheikh, Coordinator Women Enterpreneurs highlighted engineering sector wherein there is huge potential of exports. She urged for enhancement of participation in exhibitions of non-traditional items. Moreover, Pakistani mission in foreign countries should also market the potential of Pakistan’s non-traditional exports.
Mr. Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, Former Vice President FPCCI highlighted the scope of chemicals for exports of sanitizers and other products during the period of COVID-19. He said that by value-addition Pakistan can become a big exporter of chemical items as well.
Ms. Mehreen Ilahi, President Women Chamber District East drew attention toward the export potentials of pink and rock salt, stones, religious items, gems & jewelry, ceramics and handicraft towards Europe and African countries. She also urged the participation of Women entrepreneurs in handicraft and other specialized exhibitions. The other participants also stated about the potentials of livestock, dairy farming and other products and requested to revive the exports promotion programs like AHAN, SARSO etc.