January 27, 2016
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), All Karachi Industrial Alliance, Former Provincial Minister of Information Technology and First Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel (BMP) of FPCCI, Mian Zahid Hussain proposed Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to not to execute any PTA/FTA without ambitious consultation with business community. He recommended that before initiating any preferential trade deal/free trade deal, Officials should consider implication of potential deal on domestic industries and jobs, trade and foreign bureaucrat should properly analyze its impacts and cost & benefit analysis instead of just relying on opinions of incompetent export managers.
Mian Zahid Hussain stated that Pakistan is having Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with three countries i.e. China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka; while three Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with Iran, Mauritius and Indonesia; and one Transit Trade Agreement with Afghanistan; In addition to that, two FTA are under negotiation i.e. Thailand and Bangkok.
Mian Zahid Hussain stated that in all FTAs/PTAs countries, in FY 2014-15, Pakistan had positive Balance of Trade with Sri Lanka, Iran and Mauritius with US$ 173.406 million, US$ 29.952 million and US$ 13.115 million respectively and negative Balance of Trade with China, Indonesia and Malaysia with US$ 4.881 billion, US$1.167 billion and US$ 679.849 respectively.
The Former Provincial Minister for IT stated that FTAs/PTAs without fruitful feedback from business community are creating negative impact and proposed that Pakistan should seek to enter into FTA with objective to increase market access for Pakistani products and enhance their trade competitiveness at International Level as recent FTAs/PTAs of Pakistan are increasing import of consumer goods on subsidized tariff while at the same making our domestic industry exposed to unfair competition.
President PBIF Mian Zahid Hussain proposed to empower National Tariff Commission (NTC) and its capacity building and removing legislative hurdles to its effective functioning which is necessary to fulfil its myriad responsibilities, such as setting safeguard measures, performing trade research and tariff rationalization. Due to bad negotiation skills our export performance is getting worse while lack of protection for domestic industries against mis-declared, under-invoiced imported goods and smuggling is forcing several manufacturers to shut down their businesses, he concluded.