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ISLAMABAD: Newly-elected president of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has said acquiring new potential markets for trade diversification through modern tools is essential to increase the country’s exports.
“Without re-establishing trade ties with emerging markets, including Russia, Central Asian region, Africa, Turkey, South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and regional trade integration, the country’s economy will not improve,” said President FPCCI Irfan Iqbal Sheikh.
He said that by focusing on the following sectors including textile value addition, export in Information Technology (IT), alternative energy sector, housing sector, Halal food market, tourism sector, agriculture sector, gems and jewelry sector, research and development, the country’s exports can go beyond their potential.
He said that at present 65 percent of Pakistan’s trade is with only 10 countries in which trade volume with regional and friendly countries is almost non-existent. He said that acquisition of new markets, geographical, regional and countries trade diversification is essential to take our exports to the top.
He said that Pakistan has a lot of potential in the field of Information Technology and can increase annual exports up to $5 billion while current IT exports are $2.5 billion.
President FPCCI said that India is exporting up to $110 billion in the same sector and thus Pakistan’s exports should exceed the market volume of $25 billion compared to India.
Connect with Silicon Valley
“We have to connect with Silicon Valley,” he said. He said that software houses would have to set up their liaison offices in California so that they could lobby and become part of the global trade in information technology and increase domestic exports.
Irfan Sheikh said that at present the country needs to pay more attention to the agriculture sector as the use of modern technology and tools can increase the yield per acre.
He said that getting good seeds and setting up crop patterns in agriculture is a big challenge and maize and sugarcane are now replacing cotton which has affected cotton production. He said that without value addition in the agriculture sector and development of agro-industries “we would not be able to develop our economy better.”
President FPCCI said the Halal food industry currently has a market of 1.2 trillion in the world in which Pakistan’s trade is only 0.6 billion. While Muslim countries including Pakistan have no significant share in the Halal food market, Brazil dominates the market with 27 percent, Australia with 13 percent, India with 13 percent, and USA with 12.8 percent.
He said that we need to work on alternative energy which is providing better opportunities for energy production in the country. “Right now we need to go to hydel and the current government is doing a lot of work in this area,” he said.
The Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Neelam-Jhelum, and Dasu hydel projects are the best projects of the present government. He informed that once these projects are completed, our industrial sector will be in a position to compete with the regional economy in cost of business and exports will increase.
President FPCCI said that the tourism sector has a potential of billions of dollars at present which could strengthen the country’s economy.
He reiterated his commitment to set up a research wing in the Federation Chamber of Commerce which will make recommendations to the government on improving the economy and provide proposals in the coming budget 2022-23. In this regard, a research wing will be set up in the Federation Chamber and Commerce with PhD doctors and technocrats.