The government of Pakistan is likely to announce the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF 2012-2015) during the first week of September, with special focus on export development initiatives, launching of Export Import Bank (Exim Bank) and measures to cope with new trade challenges.
“The Policy has been devised keeping in view the financial restraints of the government to make it applicable and implement able,” a top official said before presenting the policy to the Prime Minister, who is likely to attend a briefing.
The three - year trade policy 2009-12 is coming to an end and new STPF (2012-2015) has been formulated in consultation with stakeholders in order to propel Pakistan’s exports and making them competitive, the official said.
The official maintained that the trade policy 2009-12 could not be properly implemented due to paucity of funds.
The Textile Ministry had demanded the government funds of Rs188 billion for the implementation of the trade policy (2009-12) for five years, but was just provided Rs23 billion for three years, according to the official.
Similarly, the Ministry of Commerce had demanded Rs27billion for the proper implementation but it was provided only Rs3 billion.
“The scarcity of funds was the main reason that the previous three year trade policy could not be implemented,” they added
The focus of the new trade policy is Export Development Initiative for which Rs60 billion have been proposed for the next three years (2012-15), he said adding that this fund was the lowest when compared to the other regional countries.
Sources were of the view that it would be unjust if the government did not provide the funds requested, especially when the trade deficit had widened to $21 billion.
He said to increase exports and make them competitive with regional competitors such as India and Bangladesh in STPF-2012-2015, the government is planning to establish Export Import Bank (EXIM Bank).
Highlighting some of the features of the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF 2012-2015), he said that the policy would include creation of regulatory efficiencies by addressing the issuers of quality, standard, regulation, trade disputes and enforcement, promotion of agro-processed exports especially in this region, tapping of regional potential of exports in Pakistan, promotion of service sector through institutional arrangements, and promotion of regional trade especially trade with China, Iran and Afghanistan.
The other features of the policy would be re-invigoration of exports promotion agencies, mobilization of new investment in export oriented industry with establishment of Special Economic Zones, providing of state support through Export Investment Support Fund, etc.