Ahsan Iqbal calls upon World Trade Organization to support Pakistan in SME development and trade facilitation for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
Islamabad, May 02, 2016 (PPI-OT):Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal urged World Trade Organization (WTO) to support Pakistan in capacity building in SME sector and trade facilitation for CPEC. Pakistan eyes $150 billion exports by 2025 under Vision-2025, which requires a paradigm shift in nature and composition of exports by adding value and introducing innovation in existing export regime. Ahsan Iqbal stated in a meeting with Director General WTO Roberto Azvedo, who called on him at Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.
Federal Minister Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan also attended the meeting. Ahsan Iqbal said that present government’s vision is to achieve sustainable economic growth by having major thrust on export sector, which is facing crisis due to myopic policies of the past. He said that WTO’s support can be instrumental to realize the vision of high export growth. He pointed out that government is working on various initiatives to align the local trade and commerce sector with the international financial models to achieve higher exports.
Ahsan Iqbal said that economic policies of present government turned national economy into vibrant and resilient economy in last two and half years after many economic indicators showed significant improvement. He hoped that growth rate is expected to touch 5 % by end of this financial year. He said that power shortage issue has been tackled on priority basis by the present government.
Growth rate can witness a high jump once the energy shortage would be resolved by 2018, he added. Federal Minister Planning and Development said that government is simultaneously working on major initiatives on economic integration and regional connectivity to turn Pakistan into a major trade and manufacturing hub in the region. He mentioned China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), TAPI and KASA 1000-MGW as the major projects for economic integration and regional connectivity, which would enormously benefit Pakistan and region.
Federal Minister Planning and Development and DG WTP also discussed to explore avenues of cooperation between Pakistan and WTO. Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan wants to work in close collaboration with WTO and emphasized that the world organization should focus on knowledge sharing with the developing nations to bring improvement in their trade sectors. He sought linkages between Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and WTO Institute for knowledge sharing purposes.
He also sought the support of WTO for Pakistan to realize its vision to keep moving on path of development and growth. Minister also emphasized that WTP should work towards removing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) to facilitate the trade liberalization in the region as Pakistan faces high non tariff barriers in the region.
DG WTO appreciated the economic turnaround Pakistan made in the last two and half years. He said that WTO would like to be partner of Pakistan in future as part of its trade facilitation agenda. He said political stability was most critical for developing nations as investors don’t make decisions on two or three years horizons. He said that I am going back with very positive outlook on Pakistan’s direction.
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