New ADB’s SEZ study findings to promote Pakistan’s trade and exports

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 30 (APP):Asian Development Bank (ADB) convened consultation
workshops on “The CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030 and Special Economic Zones
Development” here to promote Pakistan’s trade and exports.
Participants found the envisaged Central Asia
Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) trade agenda and ADB’s SEZ study findings to be
relevant and practical in promoting Pakistan’s regional trade and exports.
Additional Secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce S.M.
Irfan Huda chaired the workshop while Country Director ADB Xiaohong Yang
presented opening remarks and Director Regional
Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division ADB headquarters Manila,
Safdar Parvez moderated the proceedings.
The Workshop also discussed
ways and means to maximize potential of Special Economic Zones and Industrial
Park Development in Pakistan by sharing successes and lessons learnt from
Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic and identified potential areas of support
for Pakistan.
“Development of SEZs
in Pakistan is the most important part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) and needs recommendations and proposals from various stakeholders both
from government and private sectors to ensure successes of the zones,” Safdar
Parvez said while addressing the workshop.
ADB organized the
workshop in collaboration with ministry of commerce, and Board of Investment
(BOI).
“Under the
Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program, we are developing a
trade agenda to promote trade and development among the member countries,
expand trade, explore new markets in the region, and diversify the trade in the
region,” he said.
“We will include
the workshop outcomes in trade agenda of 17th CAREC Ministerial meeting to be
held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on November 15, 2018 in which Pakistan’s
representative would also participate.”
Meanwhile Xiaohong Yang said as CAREC aims to reposition
itself as a catalyst for trade expansion and economic diversification in the
region, it is imperative to consider previous iterations of CAREC trade work
and forward-looking trade priorities under CAREC 2030.
Under the framework of
CAREC 2030 strategy, she said CITA 2030 and accompanying Rolling Strategic
Action Plan (RSAP) 2018-2020 is being developed through consultative
process. CITA 2030 will integrate trade work combining trade policy and
trade facilitation and include cross-cutting priorities in CAREC 2030
operational clusters.
The CITA aims to assist CAREC countries to integrate
further with the global economy through trade expansion from increased market
access, greater diversification, and stronger institutions for trade, she
added.
Earlier in his presentation, Senior Regional Cooperation
Specialist, ADB, Guoliang Wu said in December 2014, the ADB approved the
regional policy and advisory technical assistance for supporting industrial
park development in the CAREC Region with a two fold objective of evaluating
the features, functions, and effectiveness of existing SEZs in the region by
undertaking diagnostic studies, and developing strategic frameworks for their
development in accordance with international rules and best practices.
“Two pilot countries were identified, namely Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz
Republic.” He said in these countries strategic framework for SEZs was
evolved and was founded on five pillars including promoting investment climate
in SEZs, promoting linkages with the domestic economy, promotion of regional
and cross border value chains, implementation strategy, and monitoring and
evaluation. He said SEZs can serve as a highly potent policy tool to
address institutional bottlenecks and promote competitiveness. Low cost
competitiveness and low productivity discourage investment productive activity.
This impedes expansion in the scale of production, which in turn prevents the
use of new technologies, investment in learning and upgrading of businesses.