The Government of Pakistan, lead by the Ministry of Commerce and in cooperation with the European Union (EU), is launching a Cooperation Programme on Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA II). The Programme will provide support to Pakistan in building the necessary capacity to address trade related issues, thereby fostering its integration into the world economy and contributing to poverty alleviation. The Programme targets support for trade policy development, support to priority sectors with high export potential such as horticulture, fisheries and selected industrial products such as fans, surgical instruments, cutlery and sporting goods. It includes sector support to increase productivity and value addition as well as strengthening of intellectual property rights regime.
A National Programme Validation Workshop will be convened on 28 September 2010 at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad. It will be opened by Mr. Zafar Mahmood, Secretary of Ministry of Commerce, and H.E. Mr. Jan DE KOK, Ambassador, EU Delegation to Pakistan. The National Workshop is expected to be attended by a wide cross-section of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors interested in capacity building initiatives and supply side sector interventions of TRTA II Programme. The National Workshop will deliberate on the relevance of TRTA II activities in addressing the export performance and trade related challenges of Pakistan.
TRTA II is funded by the European Union (EU) amounting to €9.5 million with a co-funding from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) of €500,000. UNIDO has been designated by the Government of Pakistan and by the EU as the implementing agency of the overall programme. The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will implement parts of the Programme.
TRTA II will support GoP efforts in trade capacity building and consolidate the initiatives of an earlier EU funded TRTA I programme implemented during 2004-2007 with contributions from UNIDO and ITC. The purpose of the TRTA II programme, which is for a duration of 54 months (2010-2014), is to support sustainable development and poverty reduction in Pakistan by assisting the economic integration of the country into the global and regional economy and trade, thereby stimulating decent work and employment creation through increased exports and enhanced enabling climate for international trade.
During the six-month Inception Phase, baseline studies, coupled with stakeholders’ analysis and review of capacity gaps of beneficiaries and sector-based studies were carried out and analysis conducted on key trade development challenges in the area of trade policy development, supply side development, compliance infrastructure and services, and intellectual property rights.
The TRTA II Programme has three components:
Component 1 aims at building capacity within Ministry of Commerce to formulate trade policies and to proactively participate in trade negotiations by enhancing active engagement of the private sector in these processes. The ITC will implement this Component.
Component 2, aims at strengthening the quality and conformity assessment infrastructure and services with focus on selected export supply chains (fisheries, horticulture and selected industrial products) to meet international standards and compliance requirements. The UNIDO will implement this component.
Component 3 aims at strengthening the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) regime in Pakistan through protection of IPRs by improving e the enabling environment for business, investment climate and value addition of export products. The WIPO will implement this Component.
Pakistan is a low income economy still emerging from heavy reliance on import substitution as a development strategy. Although the country has thrived on liberalization of the economy, it still lags in achievement of overall economic openness. The country has a high, but not fully exploited potential of exports in particular in a number of non-traditional agro products. The sustenance of real GDP growth above 5-6 percent per annum would be critical to make significant progress in poverty reduction
Against the backdrop of rapidly changing global export patterns, there is a strong case for Pakistan to pursue an export led growth strategy that leads ultimately to improving living standards. Yet, the impact of economic growth on poverty is not automatic. Rather, in order to create export driven wealth to trickle down to the low income strata of the population, it is necessary to: evaluate various trade policy options and to support rational trade policy formulation and implementation; develop trade potential in labour intensive sectors; support institutional services to meet standards of international good practice; and upgrade skills of workers and employees.