LAHORE: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has said trade with India is the need of the hour and beneficial to both countries.

Also, Russia wanted to do investment in the field of construction and lay pipelines in Pakistan, he said on Sunday.

“As far as the ministry of commerce is concerned, its position is to do trade with India. And my stance is that we should do trade with India and it should be opened now,” Mr Dawood said in an interaction with media at an exhibition on engineering and healthcare organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

“The trade with India is very beneficial to all, especially Pakistan. And I support it,” he added.

Russia keen to invest in construction industry and to lay pipelines

About the exports to Afghanistan, the advisor said his ministry had increased the number of exporting items to Afghanistan (in Pakistan rupee) to 17. “Still various businessmen are contacting me to include their articles / items in this list as they also want to export their goods to Afghanistan in Pak rupee,” he claimed.

Talking about the trade relations with Russia, Mr Dawood said Pakistan’s exports to Russia and the countries bordering it (central Asia) and others required immediate attention and growth. “So we need to open this trade. And that is why we are going there,” he said, adding that Russia wanted to work in Pakistan in the fields of laying pipelines, constructions etc.

As for exports, he said the textile exports would reach Rs21 billion target in FY 2021-22 ending on June 30. The next year’s textile exports target is Rs27 billion. But the country should diversify its exports since its products range is squeezed. “Our major export destinations are Europe, North America (especially the USA) and China. But our range of products needs to be increased. And I think, our engineering and healthcare-related goods can be added in the list of exports,” he said.

He admitted skyrocketing prices and their adverse impact on the common people. “I agree with you on this issue. But this issue will persist due to imports of oil, raw material, machinery and other goods,” Mr Dawood said.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2022

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