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Free Trade Agreements are an important tool - PRGMEA

31
Jul '09
The establishment of Economic Diplomacy Wing (EDW) at the Foreign Ministry is really a welcome step by the government. It is the need of the hour that Pakistan should get full access of European and US markets for its products through trade diplomacy.

It should be mentioned here that there is a need for private sector representation in EDW. It is very important that both government and private sector should join hands in order to make EDW effective. Government cannot be of much success without the private sector and vice versa because the private sector has not much expertise in international diplomacy and the government has not much expertise in trade matters. Only when the two will join hands Pakistan's economic diplomacy will be effective and pertinent to the industry.

It is also important that region specific sections should be setup under the EDW because each region has its own dynamics with respect to trade and also each region would require a different approach to diplomacy. Here also, public-private partnership is of vital importance as EDW will be required to provide tailor-made solutions based on specific markets.

Role of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and effectiveness of Commercial Councilors should also be mentioned here. Pakistan's Commercial Councilors aboard should be given full training in matters of trade in order to justify their utility otherwise this job can also be done by employing young, dynamic talent from foreign countries who will be able to penetrate more deeply into their own respective regions.

TDAP has already taken an initiative by forming an advisory body comprising of public-private individuals in order to give effective feedback to the government and solve exporters problems but still TDAP has long way to go.

Free Trade Agreements (FTA's) are an important tool in the hands of government and the industry. Through these FTA's one country seeks a greater market share in the partner country and in turn gives its partner a greater share in one's own domestic market. Pakistan has already signed a number of FTA's most notable are with China and Malaysia.

The effectiveness of these FTA's is questionable because Pakistan has not been able to significantly enhance its trade with these two countries although these are huge markets for Pakistan's textile products. Here too public-private partnership is of vital importance.

The private sector should be taken into confidence before signing any FTA so that most relevant export products should be included therein and after signing government should conduct seminars and inform industry in order to make these FTA's effective. Government should also realize that by giving market access to other countries it is making a market for new products, consumption of which will benefit our importers and would help in increasing commercial activity.

Trade and Industrial policies are very important forthe economic growth of Pakistan. The government has taken a good step by involving various Chambers and trade bodies into confidence but there is much more room for improvement before full utility of these policies would be seen.

Coordination between Chambers of Commerce of different countries is required because through these interactions the entrepreneurs are able to find common areas of commercial activity and to introduce one's products to another country. Single country exhibitions can also be held under the Chambers. Increased cooperation between Chambers will also pave way for trade delegations which will further lead to joint ventures and collaborations.

PRGMEA


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