ISLAMABAD: Adverse political relations between India and Pakistan have stopped the Commerce Minister and Commerce Secretary from attending ‘Aalishan Pakistan: Lifestyle Exhibition’ being held from September 11th to 14th, 2014 in New Delhi.
Addressing a press conference, Federal Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said that both the neighbouring rivals could not initiate trade talks until diplomatic ties resumed between them.
“We were expecting that foreign secretaries of both Pakistan and India will take up bilateral trade in a scheduled meeting but the talks were postponed,” he revealed.
Talking about the trade volume between the two countries, Dastgir said that the level had increased to $2.26 billion during eleven months (July-May) of the previous financial year 2013-2014 from $2.14 billion of the preceding year. He informed that the government would announce the Trade Policy 2015-2018 in next year wherein the country’s exports target would be estimated at $50 billion from existing $25 billion. “The government has targeted to double the exports to $50 billion by the end of 2018”, he added.
The minister also criticized the sit-ins of the two parties – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), as he blamed that these would affect the economic indicators during first quarter (July-September) of the ongoing financial year. Similarly, the cost of rupee depreciation is Rs250 billion and cost of crashing Karachi Stock Exchange is Rs250-300 billion, which occurred due to the sit-ins.
He made it clear that Chinese were investing $34 billion in different sectors of Pakistan, which was not loan. “The invisible losses are incalculable due to the sit-ins. Foreign as well local investors have stopped investment due to the political uncertainty in the country”, Dastgir remarked.
To a question, he informed that country’s exports had shown mixed results in last several months but it remained in the range of $1.9-$2.2 billion a month. The exports can be enhanced if industries get interrupted electricity and gas supply apart from conducive law and order situation of the country, he informed.
Earlier, he briefed the media on the ‘Aalishan Pakistan: Lifestyle Exhibition’, which would start in India from today (Thursday). He informed that more than 150 exhibitors with 320 stalls would showcase their products in the exhibition, which would help in creating thousands of new Pakistani jobs as a result of successful penetration of the Indian market. “Leading Pakistani brands, high-end retailers, and reputed designers are taking Pakistani products to a market of 600 million middle-class consumers”, he added. Renowned companies from non-traditional sectors such as marble and granite, handicrafts, garments & accessories, jewellery are also participating in the event.
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