President FPCCI urges to explore new markets for trade diversification

ISLAMABAD, Jan 02 (APP): Newly elected president of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Irfan Iqbal Sheikh Sunday said that acquisition of new potential markets for trade diversification, through modern tools is essential to increase the country’s exports.

“Without re-establishing trade ties with emerging markets, including Russia, Central Asian region, Africa,Turkey, South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and regional trade integration, the country’s economy will not improve” President FPCCI , Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said this while talking to APP here.

He said that by focusing on the following sectors including textile value addition, export in Information Technology (IT), alternative energy sector, housing sector, Halal food market, tourism sector, agriculture sector, gems and Jewelry sector and research and development country’s exports can go beyond their potential.

At present, 65 percent of Pakistan trade is with only 10 countries in which trade volume with regional and friendly countries is almost non-existent, he said.
Irfan said that acquisition of new markets, geographical, regional and countries trade diversification is essential to take our exports to the top.

He said that Pakistan has a lot of potential in the field of Information Technology and in this sector, “we can increase our annual exports up to US$ 5 billion, while our current IT exports are US$2.5 billion.

President FPCCI said that India is exporting up to $110 billion in the same sector and thus our exports should exceed the market volume of $ 25 billion compared to India.

“We have to connect with Silicon Valley,” he said.
He said that our software houses would have to set up their liaison offices in California so that they could lobby for this, so that they could become part of the global trade in information technology and increase domestic exports.

Irfan said that at present the country needs to pay more attention to the agriculture sector, in which the use of modern technology and tools in the agricultural sector can increase the yield per acre.

At present “we need to increase our yield per acre in all major crops including cotton, rice, wheat and maize” he said.

He said that at present, getting good seeds and setting up crop patterns in agriculture is a big challenge and Maize and sugarcane are now replacing cotton, which has affected our major cotton production.

He said that without value addition in the agriculture sector and development of agro-industries, “we would not be able to develop our economy better.”
The President FPCCI said that ‘Hilal Food’ currently has a market of 1.2 trillion in the world in which Pakistan’s trade is only .6 billion.

While Muslim countries including Pakistan have no significant share in the Halal food market, Brazil dominates the market with 27 percent, Australia with 13 percent , India with 13 percent and USA with 12.8 percent.

He said that our market potential in Gems and Jewelry has a potential of $30 billion but there are inadequate facilities due to which imports in this sector are low.
He said that our Northern Areas and Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are rich in these precious stones, which are in need of modern machinery for valuation and the government will provide us timely assistance in this regard.

He said that at present “we need to work on alternative energy, which is providing better opportunities for energy production in the country.”

“Right now “we need to go to Hydel and the current government is doing a lot of work in this area,” he said.

The Diamer Bhasha Dam, Neelam and Jhelum, Dasu Hydel projects are the best projects of the present government.

He informed that once these projects are completed, our industrial sector will be in a position to compete with the regional economy in cost of business and country’ exports will increase.

The President FPCCI said that the tourism sector has a potential of billions of dollars at present which could strengthen the country’s economy.

At the same time, he reiterated his commitment to set up a research wing in the Federation Chamber of Commerce, which will make recommendations to the government on how to improve the economy, and provide government proposals in the coming budget 2022-23.

In this regard, a research wing will be set up in the Federation Chamber and Commerce with PhD doctors and technocrats.