Pakistan’s export performance has been lacklustre and growth is almost stagnant over the last couple of years, despite its government taking several policy incentives, says a development professional with over two decades of experience.
Pakistan’s export performance has been lacklustre and growth is almost stagnant over the last couple of years, despite its government taking several policy incentives, says a development professional with over two decades of experience. In an article for the Express Tribune, Abdul Qadir Memon has said that the improvement in macroeconomic indicators and a better security situation has not helped enhance the country’s export performance, and believes that main impediment remains existing tariff barriers with other nations, including key ally China.
“The only region where Pakistan has witnessed growth for its exports has been the EU (European Union) due to the tariff concessions under the GSP Plus scheme. However, these concessions are time bound and subject to rigorous monitoring of the country’s social, labour and environment standards,” Memon says. He also points that Pakistan is not included in any of the regional negotiations being led by China despite having close political and economic ties with Beijing. He warns, “The emerging regional trade arrangements led by China with ambitious tariff cuts will have adverse effects on exports from non-parties such as Pakistan and this should be a cause of concern for Islamabad.”
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This despite China’s President Xi Jinping recently warning the international community that no one will emerge a winner in the ongoing trade war. President Jinping said globalisation was not responsible for economic woes in the West for which it was being blamed. According to Memon, the Chinese economy has outperformed others and emerged as the world’s fastest growing economy with an average of 10 percent GDP growth per year in the last two decades. “China would obviously like to continue with this trajectory of economic growth and development so as to be able to lift a significant portion of its population still living in poverty,” he adds.
Pakistan’s Look East Policy he says is striving to address tariff and non-tariff barriers. Pakistan, he adds, is also keen on joining the ASEAN as a full dialogue partner and securing free trade agreements with its members. But these overtures have not received the desired attention from ASEAN, he concludes.