ISLAMABAD – Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Industry and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood here on Wednesday said that during recently concluded visit of Prime Minister, China has agreed to increase its import from Pakistan by $1 billion immediately while the imports from Pakistan would further be increased by $1 billion next year.
This will help Pakistan to boost its exports to China from existing level of $1.2 billion to $2.2 billion by end of current year and to $3.2 billion by end of next year, he said while addressing a press briefing along with Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakhtiar.
“We wanted China to give Pakistan market access and increase tariff lines with similar conditions that it had offered to Bangladesh and member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” he said, adding that keeping in view the lengthy process of amending the priority list tariff lines between the two countries, the Chinese Premier Li had assured Pakistani side to enhance its imports from Pakistan immediately.
The Adviser said that media was misquoting Finance Minister Asad Umar by saying that the country’s exports would be doubled within the current year. “In fact, the finance minister had said that Pakistan’s export to China would be doubled by end of current year.”
Dawood said that now the challenge lies on Pakistani government as well as the private sector to identify the potential areas for enhancing exports to China. “Now we will have to sit down together to enhance exports in potential areas such as textile, leather, agriculture, surgical goods, and light engineering.”
The Adviser said unless the export culture does not flourish in the country, the current account gap issue could not be addressed on permanent basis. “We can not pay debt by borrowing more.”
The government, he said, was determined to facilitate the local industry to enhance exports and to provide proper facilitation at the ports. The Adviser said that the export culture in the country was not developed yet as there were no proper facility and mechanism operating at the local ports to facilitate the exporters.
Abdul Razak Dawood underlined the need to develop and promote local industrial sectors on modern lines to produce competitive products as compared to the international markets.
Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiar said during the recent visit of Prime Minister to China, the two sides signed agreements for cooperation in various sectors including agriculture and elimination of poverty from the country.
He said the scope of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had also been enhanced and development of CPEC had now entered into the second phase that is industrial cooperation. He informed that next month, he was visiting China to attend the annual Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC in Beijing where further major breakthrough was expected during the meetings.
Bakhtiar said the previous governments had not paid attention on the development of Gwadar port and city, but this government was giving top priority on the development of Gwadar port and city. He said every year, Pakistan imports crude petroleum oil worth of $16 billion and if an oil refinery is established in Gwadar, Pakistan would be able to save its import bill worth over $7 billion.