Pakistan/EU Trade Partnership: Trade Related Technical Assistance through the Years 2010-2016

Minister of Commerce acknowledges significant contributions of the TRTA II Programme

In the closing ceremony of the EU funded Trade Related Technical Assistance II program on 19th April 2016, the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Khurram Dastigir Khan acknowledged the contributions made in enhancing trade, improvising conformity assessment and improving competitiveness in selected industrial sectors. Earlier the presenters shared that the program resulted in a substantial increase in the export revenues, improved business performance in terms of productivity, quality, CSR and market linkages private sector companies in agro and industrial sectors (electric fans, cutlery, surgical instruments, protective gears, fisheries, Kinnow and mango), provided institutional strengthening support to Government organizations, and helped Pakistan institute key regulations in food safety, quality, competitiveness and trade dispute resolutions.

The six year TRTA II, program funded by the EU and implemented by UNIDO, supported Government institutions, private sector entrepreneurs and workforce in improving business competitiveness, improved business and trade practices, laboratory accreditation, training and performance improvement.

It is estimated that a total of 50 public departments, 200 private businesses and 500,000 individuals benefited from the program resulting in increased income and exports, job creation and overall improvement in business environment

Impacting quality of life of the ordinary people, enhancing trade through assured product compliance, improved trade policy negotiations skills and the establishment of a modern Intellectual Property (IP) regime were few of the key achievements during the period 2010 to 2016 of the Euro 12 million Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA II) Programme funded by the European Union. At the closing event hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, the Programme management and key beneficiaries presented some of the key achievements and impact of the 6-year TRTA II Programme, the second phase of the original project that started in 2004.

Through the support of TRTA, Pakistan today has a recognized capacity for trade policy training and advice, a national quality policy, an accreditation body, as well as more than 40 product-testing and metrology laboratories that can globally testify of the standards compliance of national products while at the same time better protect local consumers. The NAPHIS Bill for the establishment of a National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Authority has been approved by the Prime Minister and is ready for submission to the Parliament for enactment. TRTA also strengthened the IP regime in Pakistan by strengthening the IP Legislative and Policy Framework. TRTA Programme has been implemented by UNIDO as lead agency, with ITC and WIPO as cooperating agencies.

UNIDO Representative in Pakistan, Mr. Esam Alqararah highlighted the impressive results that have been achieved in promoting the exports from Pakistan to the  international markets, in particular fisheries products, mangoes, Kinnow, fans, surgical equipment, protective gloves and boots. This export success is a powerful driver for more economic growth and further creation of employment for Pakistan’s men, women and youth.

Mr. Khurram Dastigir Khan, Federal Minister of Commerce, acknowledged that the contributions of TRTA II that have enhanced the efforts undertaken by the government of Pakistan. Many of the Programme interventions have since been further up-scaled through very significant additional financial and human investments by the ministries and programme counterparts. Export-led growth is essential to offer employment opportunities to the youth joining the labor market every year. TRTA has greatly helped Pakistan to improve the needed framework conditions for such growth.

The EU Ambassador to Pakistan H.E. Mr Jean François Cautain highlighted some of the key successes of that TRTA II programme and stated that the Programme had made an impressive contribution to support Pakistani companies and institutions to attain and proof this compliance making sure that it is recognized by Pakistan’s international trading partners.  After a long freeze of 7 years, today Pakistan is again exporting an increasing number of fisheries products to the European Union and other global markets without any rejections. Number of Pakistani companies can proof CE marking compliance for fans and protective gears (boots, gloves) and thereby develop their market outreach to Europe and the Middle East.

After six years of implementation, TRTA has made a significant contribution to the development efforts of private sector and public institutions, reducing costs of trade and enhancing consumer protection. At the same time, workers in agro and industrial sectors have access to good practices, have improved their skills, and thereby could reach out to better employments, often resulting also in better income and livelihood.

For more details, please check out the programme brochure and press release at UNIDO website.