EPB develops export maximisation plans for US, Europe and Africa
LAHORE: Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Chairman Tariq Ikram on Wednesday said the bureau had drafted plans to increase Pakistani exports to the United States as well as European and African countries.
“These plans will be helpful in boosting both traditional and non-traditional exports to these markets,” he observed while addressing the executive committee members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) here.
EPB Director General Lahore Naveed Akram Cheema was also present on the occasion.
Talking about the warehouse scheme Mr Ikram said that the proposed warehouses in Kenya and Poland were likely to become operational by the end of July. “The steering committee on warehouses will soon invite bids from warehouse companies of these countries for space for these facilities,” he said.
He said the government had estimated the space cost of the warehouses in Kenya at Rs 16 million and in Poland at Rs 20 million.
“The establishment of the warehouses in these countries is part of the government plan to focus on African and European countries to avail the opportunities available there,” he added.
After establishing warehouses in Kenya and Poland, the EPB chairman said, similar facilities would be developed in the US, the United Kingdom, Russia, Central Asian Republics, Australia and New Zealand to help promote Pakistan’s exports to these important markets.
He said the Export Credit Insurance Scheme had also been launched in collaboration with London’s Underwriters Association as a pilot project to provide cushion to Pakistani exporters in case of fraud on the part of importers in the western world.
“A business of $25 million was carried under the cover of this scheme so far,” he said, adding that the scheme might be expanded in the near future.
The chairman EPB hoped that the issue of payment of 30 percent withholding tax on the remittances under the export credit insurance scheme would be settled with the Central Board of Revenue (CBR).
He said that Pakistan’s exports during the nine months of the current fiscal year had risen by 20 percent as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.
“There is an increase of $1.3 billion in exports so far as compared to the previous year,” he remarked, adding that of this amount, $920 million was contributed by the textile and garments sector.
He said that it was the leather sector, which was facing problems among the core exports of the country. He said that exports of non-traditional items however had increased by $306 million.
Responding to a question, he said that the export of meat had little effect on the prices of this commodity in the domestic market, and said that Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) had lifted the ban on import of meat from Pakistan.
Mr Ikram said that there were world-class abattoirs in Pakistan. He said that freight subsidy was available for exports bound for all parts of the world. He hoped that the meat of both goat and sheep would enjoy a 25 percent freight subsidy in the near future.
He said that the EPB had developed an export-led growth strategy, which would define the role of foreign missions and the commercial attaches in the maximization of exports. The Chairman EPB said that a software had been developed to monitor the working of the commercial attaches.
He said the government wanted to encourage branding to help increase the acceptability of Pakistani products in the international markets. However, he observed, branding was an expensive and complex game.
“Government may finance the exporters in the acquisition of international brands of different products or provide assistance in case of franchised brands,” he said.
Referring to plans to restructure the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), he said that the marketing wing of the bureau would be transformed into a private company. However, another wing of the bureau would continue working for the facilitation of exporters.
He said that the Duties and Tax Remission for Exports (DTRE) rules had been improved, adding that the EPB was holding a number of seminars and workshops on DTRE and WTO to create awareness among exporters about these issues. He assured that Lahore would soon have a world-class expo centre.
Earlier, the LCCI President M Yawar Irfan Khan presented the address of welcome.