Stakeholders from public sector, private sector and civil society discussed policy recommendations and domestic regulatory reform for enhancing competitiveness and export potential for trade with India in light of improved trade relations and full implementation of SAFTA in a public private dialogue (PPD) organized under the European Union funded Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA II) programme.
The Component 1 of the TRTA II programme is about trade policy capacity building and is implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC). A fifteen members public private dialogue steering committee (PPDSC) constituted under the Component 1 of the TRTAII programme selected policy reforms for enhancing competitiveness and export potential for trade with India for public private consultation earlier this year so that a coherent and inclusive policy is debated and put in place for Pakistan. The International Trade Centre (ITC) along with Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD) has been functioning as the secretariat of the PPDSC.
Pakistan and India are two neighboring countries and can greatly benefit from bilateral trade; maintained Mr. Farooq Iftikhar, the President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He added that there is need to put in place concrete policies for enhancing competitiveness for trade with India and in that connection all the stakeholders should be consulted. He particularly mentioned that in some sectors the Pakistani producers are in a disadvantageous position and the government should come forward to provide level playing field to the Pakistani producers vis-à-vis their Indian competitors in those sectors.
While addressing the PPD Mr. Abdul Basit Khan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research underscored the importance of improved trade relations between India and Pakistan for poverty reduction, economic growth and peace and stability in the region. He elaborated the current efforts which have been undertaken by both the countries for streamlining their trade relations. He highlighted that the Government is committed to normalize trade relations with India on equal basis, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders and after taking on board the recommendations of business community for a fair and level playing field.
Dr. Shujat Ali, Secretary Department of Industries, Commerce and Investment, Government of the Punjab showcased the efforts undertaken by his Department to facilitate and strengthen the business community through various initiatives for trade with India. He maintained that it is the responsibility of the public sector to provide and implement conducive policies for enhancing competitiveness for exports. He vowed that his Department will do whatever is in its purview to facilitate private sector for their business growth. He appreciated the efforts of ITC and PITAD for organizing a PPD on such important aspect of trade policy.
The technical session was undertaken wherein policy recommendations for domestic regulatory reform from two separate studies on Industrial Sector and Agriculture sector conducted for the PPD were presented before the invited stakeholders. The technical session was chaired by Mr. Abdul Basit Khan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Panel discussants from relevant private sector Associations, Chambers of Commerce and Government organizations expressed their views on the possible reform process.
Open house discussions among the invited participants also took place in which representative of Federal Government Ministries, implementing agencies, provincial departments, Chambers of Commerce, trade associations, individual firms, independent research organizations and Academia discussed the issues being faced by the selected sectors and possible policy reform to overcome them. The public private dialogue will result into concrete policy proposals for Enhancing competitiveness and export potential for trade with India in light of improved trade relations and full implementation of SAFTA which would be formally submitted to the federal and provincial governments for potential implementation.
The Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTAII) programme is funded by the European Union and is implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organization in association with the International Trade Centre and World Intellectual Property Organization.