Mr Mohsin Aziz, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has said that bilateral trade between Pakistan and India is a need of the hour subject to the provision of level playing field to Pakistani products in the Indian market.
He said the efforts to bring two economies closer are commendable as it is high time to benefit from each other potential and increase mutual share in the world trade.
According to him, exports from Pakistan to India are merely $350-400 million per annum despite the fact that India has extended the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan since 1995.
The Indian regular exports to Pakistan, on the other hand, are in the vicinity of $1.7 to 1.9 billion per annum though Pakistan has yet to extend the MFN status to India. There is a big question as to why Pakistani products are not into India although it has provided us with the MFN status.
Chairman APTMA said Pakistan need export surplus on the one hand and provision of level playing field on the other to make entry to the Indian market ahead.
Mohsin said Pakistan industry is unable to produce export surplus, as the high interest rate regime has marred new investments, and eventually new products. He deplored that the banks are sitting on the piles of profits by lending more to the government than the private sector, as they feel more secure in investment with the government than private sector resulting into short of required industrial growth and export surplus in the country.
Chairman APTMA said banks in Pakistan were not providing adequate funds to existing as well as new projects. The liquidity crunch has put pressure on industry which is not able to run on full capacity. Similarly, he said, the energy crisis has played havoc and majority of industry was running under capacity. The industrial capacity in present scenario is running idle due to short supply of electricity and gas with no idea as when this energy crisis would completely be overcome, he added.
He said Pakistan industry would not be able to produce export surplus unless it is out of negative bank policies, making the industry retarded besides the energy crisis. The banks are only making profits in the present scenario at the cost and risk of the economic and industrial growth of country.
Furthermore, he said, there is a need for equalizing duties on both sides of the border. So far as the textile industry is concerned, he said, the import as well as the domestic duties are to the vicinity of four times higher in India than what is being charged in Pakistan, leading to a complete shut down the gates of import into India. A level playing is much need and should be called as name of the name, he added.
Therefore, a real caution has to be taken while deciding trade with India as it should be a two-way road and not a one-way traffic in the larger interest of the country, its consumers as well as industry.
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA)