Govt urged to give subsidy on agri-products: FPCCI

KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) expressed concern over issue of food security despite importance of this global issue.
It was discussed in World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s 9th Ministerial Conference in December 2013 at Bali Indonesia and was not come to definite solution instead kept the matter pending till next conference.
Zakaria Usman President FPCCI said the declaration of the said conference to continue the food security subsidy favours, the Indian instance to grant subsidies to its various agriculture products.
In a letter to Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir he said Pakistan being agro-based country and exporter agro based products to the various countries lagged behind its competitors in the region.
The India is demanding subsidy on agricultural products from Pakistan under Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), this would imbalance the regional trade and Pakistani products. 
He said the government should object and oppose the demand of subsidy by India.
Usman informed the Minister in such situation the Indian farmers would be in a position to supply their products at cheaper prices with the help of government financial support (subsidies). Consequently, export of rice from India will be available at cheaper prices in the international markets as compared to Pakistani rice.
Pakistani exporters will not be in a position to compete Indian exporters on base of subsidies besides WTO and International Monetary Fund put condition on Pakistan not to provide subsidies on agriculture produces.
In the letter the FPCCI suggested the government could provide subsidy on those agriculture products, which were concerned with the Global Food Security issue.
Food processing industry, dairy products, agriculture equipments and machinery may be included in those products. 
The supply of energy and other utilities may be subsidised for food processing and agriculture industry.
He proposed inland freight subsidy could also be covered in this clause; however the major factor of in competitiveness of Pakistani products in the international markets was the cost of shipping.
The reason behind high cost of shipping is the lack of Pakistan own shipping line. He said National Shipping Corporation has become inactive and freight outward from Pakistan is monopolised by few international shipping lines.

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