Imports declined to $3.5 bln: advisor

Islamabad, April 24, 2019: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said on Wednesday that the country’s imports have reduced up to $3.5 billion during this fiscal year.

Responding to a question here in National Assembly, the Adviser to Prime Minister said that duty has been increased on import of finished goods resulting in the decrease in overall imports. He said that the trade gap has reduced due to prudent policies of the government and hopefully, the reduction in imports will reach up to six billion dollars till the end of this fiscal year.

He said that the country was facing a current account deficit following which special focus was made on import and export policies. He said that exports of the country neither increased nor decreased during the previous months but it would hopefully increase during the next two months.

To curtail the imports of luxury items and non-essential goods, he said that regulatory duties have been imposed on the import of 570 items vide S.R.O 1265 (1)/2018 on October 16, 2018, which superseded S.R.O. 640 (1)/2018 dated May 24, 2018.

He said that various steps like regulatory duties on non-essential items and luxury items and control on low-quality products will further reduce the import on non-essential items in the coming months.

Abdul Razak Dawood said that the second phase of China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement would be signed with China during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister while China had shown eagerness to give incentives to Pakistan like ASEAN countries. He said that duty-free access has been given on 313 products and such steps would be important for the economy of the country.

About the steps taken by the government to boost up Pakistan’s exports to Thailand, he informed the National Assembly that Pakistan and Thailand have initiated negotiations on FTA in order to get better market access. So far, he said that nine rounds of negotiations have been held.

He said that a study was conducted to identify products which have the potential to successfully penetrate the Thai market. The export of seafood to Thailand increased 81 million dollars in 2016-17 to 107 million dollars in 2017-18 recording a growth of 32 percent.

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