Pakistan to get $6 billion trade booster
LAHORE - Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has congratulated the government for signing of the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and termed it a beginning of 'Economic Revolution' in Pakistan. LCCI spokesman Monday said that in the letters written to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Advisors to PM on Finance and Commerce and Governor State Bank of Pakistan, the LCCI President Almas Hyder said, now it was up to the private sector that how it cashed the opportunity and how it developed products according to needs of Chinese market at their specifications to get the best benefit of this agreement. This opportunity should be availed fully as it would lay foundation of a new era of economic and socio-economic development of the country. He said that a jump of US $ 6 billion in exports from Pakistan to China was expected after historic treaty between the two countries but to achieve this target, country would require US $ 3 billion investment for industrial expansion and infrastructure etc. Almas Hyder said that government should conduct an immediate analysis and sort-out the issues being faced by the industrial sector so that it could extract immense benefits from the opportunity of duty-free access to Chinese markets. The LCCI president said that availability of running capital was one of the major issues being faced by the industrial sector. He suggested that State Bank of Pakistan should make available a special window for borrowing at lowest interest rates, especially for engineering and food industries. Almas Hyder hoped that Chinese investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would expand Pakistan's industrial base and assist in diversifying its export basket. He said that Pakistan needed immediate industrial expansion to cater to the needs of Chinese market after embarking second phase of Free Trade Agreement. He said that the exemption from the payment of Sales Tax on imported plant and machinery for Greenfield projects should also be granted to brownfield projects that would help industrial expansion. LCCI President pledged to introduce at least 200 companies to China by taking them to different exhibitions besides planning delegations. He said that in the context of ongoing project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the need and importance of private to private contacts had mounted. In this scenario, the role of chambers of commerce had widened. He said that Chinese investment in infrastructure and various other sectors would help economic development besides introducing modern technologies in Pakistan. He hoped that the conclusion of the second phase of China-Pakistan FTA, would give further boost to trade and economic relations between the two countries. The LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal said that it was not just a treaty between the two friendly countries but it was an Economic Revolution that was knocking the doors therefore government and private sector should sit together and evolve a strategy to get immense benefits from this opportunity.