ISLAMABAD: Exports to European markets during the first 11 months (July-May) of the outgoing fiscal year grew by an additional $700 million because of GSP+ status, said Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir on Wednesday.
“The major share in this growth was grabbed by the textile and clothing sector,” he said while talking to media persons here.
Asked why the growth in exports to the European Union (EU) does not reflect in the overall export numbers for the last two months, the minister said this was due to the dip in exports of non-textile products in the wake of the rupee’s appreciation against the US dollar.
Dastgir said the government approved incentives for textile and non-textile value added sectors. “This will certainly boost exports, especially to the EU market.”
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Asked whether there is any mechanism to minimise the misuse of export subsidies, the minister said it would be a difficult job to tame such exporters. However, the support package would be given on FoB (free on board) value of export proceeds, he said.
In the last few years, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has been plagued with corruption in subsidy schemes announced to promote the country’s exports. The minister said the head of the authority was appointed from the private sector to check such corruption in such schemes.
His focus was on complete liberalisation of trade with India, especially opening of Wagah border for all tradable products. “I am still optimistic to resume talks on the same package agreed in March 2014,” he said.
Under the proposed package, India will have to reduce customs duties on 100 items of exports interest of Pakistan. In response, Pakistan will have to allow trade of all commodities via Wagah border.
Currently, Pakistan has allowed import of only 137 items via land route from India. More than 5,000 items are importable from India via sea route.
While he was not optimistic about the old package to come under consideration, he said he believed that liberalising trade with India was in favour of Pakistan.
The minister agreed that the revival of composite dialogue was one of the important factors for resumption of trade talks with India.
A decision has been taken to establish land port authorities at Chaman, Wagah border and Torkham, he said. “We will start work on these land port authorities very soon.”
On trade with Afghanistan, Dastgir said his government would consider customs union with Kabul. “We will collect tax and duties for Afghanistan at our ports,” he said, adding that this would be submitted to Afghan government. He said the customs union with Afghanistan would resolve the issue of smuggling.
The minister added that trade officers would be appointed on merit.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2014