The World Trade Organization Cell of the Ministry of Industries in collaboration with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a seminar on the Challenges and Opportunities for the industrial sector in the context of opening of trade with India
Islamabad: Mr. Yassar Sakhi Butt, President ICCI highlighted the apprehensions of the business and industrial community in the areas of energy that had a crippling effect on domestic production. He said that the industry in Pakistan face numerous constraints in the absence of a ‘flat field’ on both sides of the border. The ‘flatness’ is missing in terms of energy and access to credit to mention only two factors.
Mrs. Shaista Sohail, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Industries, the key speaker of the seminar spoke at length on Pakistan’s industry – The Way Forward. She highlighted the opportunity for the industry to get cheap raw material due to the geographical proximity with India. She emphasized that the Ministry was cognizant of the challenges faced by the industry in the shape of severe energy constraints and high mark up rates in the region, where India had edge in both the areas.
Numerous industrial zones in India offer concessions to promote industry let alone our case where the absence of round the clock supply of electricity and gas is open knowledge. The production capacities remain unutilized across the board, increasing the production costs for the majority of those SMEs which do not have resources to set up captive power plants.
The Joint Secretary urged the industry to go for innovative methods in compatible renewable energy solutions like solar energy. She also discussed the coal gasification process for comparatively cheaper captive power generation and highlighted the benefits to some industrial units already making use of it. Mrs. Shaista Sohail welcomed ideas and suggestions from the industrial sectors to improve their competitiveness and productivity by undertaking ventures in public private partnerships like setting up technical standards labs, providing skill training and developing linkages with academia for research and development.
Mr. Saifullah Khan, a private expert on Trade Remedy Laws spoke on the current trade defense laws regime in Pakistan. He highlighted the importance of these laws i.e Anti-Dumping, Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and Safeguard Measures in the context of trade with India and urged the local industry to develop their record keeping standards to be able to better utilize these laws.
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