China is rolling out export-boosting measures and India is making similar moves. Pakistani exporters are waiting for a new trade policy framework which may offer something that they can rely on for competing with rival exporters.
Officials of ministry of commerce say the policy framework may be made public anytime soon. It is not clear whether the policy framework would provide an impetus to domestic trade. Regardless of how soon it comes or whether it contains the kind of concessions that exporters are looking for, one must appreciate the resilience of the domestic trade.
“The private sector has kept domestic trading alive in a tough environment and with a little support from the government we can build upon it a new, forward-looking export strategy,” says an executive member of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Industrialists, importers, wholesalers, semi-wholesalers, contractors and sub-contractors, distributors and semi-distributors-and retailers of all size and shape-all are linked together under the countrywide web of business activities.
Business activity spread over this wide spectrum constitutes a big chunk national income and accounts for a sizable segment of the economy. In FY12, the retail and wholesale sub-sectors had a combined worth of Rs3.574 trillion at current prices or about 18.4 per cent of GDP.
And since transport, storage and communication services depend much on retail and wholesale sub-sectors expansion in the two segments is largely interlinked.
The estimated worth of transport, storage and communication sectors was no less than Rs2.477 trillion in FY 12 or 12.74 per cent of GDP.