ISLAMABAD – The Federal Cabinet has approved the five-year Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF), which aims to improve the ability of Pakistani businesses to produce, distribute and sell products and services more efficiently than our competitors.
The priority sectors were identified under the STPF after studying the trends in international demand on the one hand and the capacity and capacities of various traditional export and development sectors of Pakistan on the other hand. The former includes textiles and clothing, leather, surgical instruments, sporting goods, rugs, rice and cutlery. Developing export sectors include engineering products (including auto parts), pharmaceuticals, marble and minerals, processed foods and beverages, footwear, gems and jewelry, meat and poultry and chemicals. The STPF will primarily focus on geographic and product diversification, reducing manufacturing costs through tariff rationalization, pursuing regional connectivity, including Look Africa and Silk Route Reconnect policies, and improving the ‘market access through free trade agreements and preferential trade agreements. It also includes the facilitation of logistics and monitoring under the Convention on International Road Transport (TIR) and the strengthening of regional connectivity for access to the Central Asian republics, Turkey and Iran, via them to Europe and Russia.
STPF is dynamic in nature and will be subject to course correction based on constant monitoring and evaluation. There must be an institutionalized mechanism for strong monitoring and implementation of the STPF to minimize gaps in policy implementation, which have traditionally remained a weak link due to multi-organizational roles in the ecosystem of ‘export.
To oversee the implementation, a cross-functional National Export Development Board (NEDB) has already been formed under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, made up of senior public sector officials from relevant organizations and representatives of the private sector. Regular meetings of the NEDB are organized to ensure the implementation of various policy measures.
The STPF plans to increase the country’s exports to $ 31.203 billion in the current fiscal year, $ 37.883 billion by 2022-2023, $ 45.816 billion by 2023-24 and $ 57.028 billion. dollars by 2024-25. The STPF 2020-25 rests on the pillars which include making exports a national priority and the main driver of economic growth, both inclusive and sustainable, and is the main viable source of foreign exchange earnings, valuing exports through a partnership and a coherent national effort involving all relevant ministries, departments, government agencies and private sectors to ensure policy coherence; Introduction of strategic interventions in priority sectors within the framework of the “Make in Pakistan” initiative. These interventions have been identified in the action matrices; iv) Alignment of trade policy in tandem with the macroeconomic framework and other national policies such as taxation, income, textiles and industrial policy, etc.
The vision of STPF 2020-25 is for Pakistan to become a vibrant and efficient domestic market as well as a globally competitive export-driven economy. The mission is to transform Pakistan from a factor-driven economy to an efficiency-driven economy integrated into regional and global value chains.
For export diversification, a pilot project of the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with universities and textile manufacturers will formulate a strategy to introduce the 4th generation industrial revolution in textiles.