LAHORE: Chairman APTMA North Mr Kamran Arshad has urged trade and investment Officers of the Ministry of Commerce to work for foreign direct investment to the domestic textile industry, as Pakistan has huge potential to export all sorts of textile, footwear, and other products.
According to him, duty-free access, identification of opportunities, development of linkages with industry, road shows, joint ventures, technology transfer to the country and lobbying for continuation of GSP+ should be the top most priority of newly-appointed trade officers of Pakistan ahead.
He was addressing to a 39-member delegation of officers selected from different occupational groups, the largest-ever batch, for posting in Pakistan missions abroad as consul generals, ministers, consular and attachés visited APTMA Lahore office on Thursday.
Senior Vice Chairman APTMA Mr. Asad Shafi, Executive Members Mr. Haroon Elahi and Mr. Ismail Fayyaz, Energy Consultant APTMA Mr. Tahir Basharat Cheema and Secretary General North Mr. Raza Baqir welcomed the delegation.
Earlier, the visiting delegate head had sought assistance and cooperation from APTMA to promote textile exports of the country and to explore investment potential in the sector.
Exchanging views, the trade and investment officers underlined the need to hold regular online meetings with the APTMA members so that they could jointly explore trade and investment opportunities and create strong linkages between the business communities of Pakistan and the host countries.
Speaking on the occasion, APTMA Chairman Mr. Kamran Arshad said that the textile sector alone represents 46 per cent of the total manufacturing and around 40 per cent of the total labour force.
He spoke at length about the scope for joint ventures in MM fibers, denim, twill, drill, shirting materials, technical textiles.
Other areas of cooperation may be Power Generation Plants, Logistics and Cargo, textile machinery Assembly / Manufacturing, he added.
Chairman APTMA North said the Association has designed a $50B export plan through setting up 1000 garment plants. The total investment would be US $ 7 billion generating annual exports of $20 billion and providing employment to well over 700,000 workers.
For Kamran, the trade and investment officers serving the country’s missions in over 50 countries can play an important role to boost exports.
These officers should participate in all exhibitions and prepare reports for the trade associations and general exporters to help explore new markets and exploit trade opportunities, he suggested.
He highlighted the issues confronting growth of the textile industry. He said cross subsidies should be removed and separate export oriented industry tariff should be introduced to make export competitive. He also sought withdrawal of high import tariff and antidumping duties on PSF.
According to him, sales tax refunds should be paid under FASTER within 72 hours and Export Facilitation Scheme (EFS) should be extended to the whole textile chain and supplies by indirect exporters may be allowed refund under FASTER.
Also, he said, Income Tax and Sales Tax rates should be rationalized and turnover income tax should be abolished or reduced to half.
He sale of certified high quality seeds is to be ensured to uplift production.
He said that the trade officers should undertake Made in Pakistan initiative through international roadshows, virtual showcases & expos, physical show-rooms and outreach plans.
He also sought development of E-market places, product portals and online marketplaces and introduce online collaboration platform and digital transformation.
He said advocacy campaigns on various issues like technology adoption, innovations, quality improvement, R&D, compliances of GSP+ conventions & standards should be adopted by trade officers.
He was confident that Pakistan’s exports can easily be enhanced by giving targets to trade/commercial officers and granting incentives to them upon achieving the targets.
All the trade officers vowed to extend full facilitation to the Pakistani exporters and investors and to maintain close liaison with the trade and industry associations and chambers for efficient discharge of their duties.
They assured that they would always be willing to maintain close liaison with the industry back at home and to bridge any gap between Pakistan and the businesses of the countries of their posting by quick electronic exchange of information.
Mr. Asad Shafi stressed on brand development and the role of foreign missions in their promotion world over.
He also extended a vote of thanks to the visiting delegation at the end of the meeting and expressed the confidence that all officers will ensure to avail all trade and investment opportunities during their overseas postings.