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Promotion of non-tradition exports from Pakistan.

Promotion of Non-Tradition Exports from Pakistan

Karachi Chamber has remained in the forefront for promotion of non-traditional exports and was one of the very few trade bodies which gave a lead by holding a Seminar as far back as in 1984 exclusivity for stepping up exports of non-traditional and value-added goods. There were large number of topics and some items were identified as well, particularly Engineering Group. However, I believe, our exporters and industrialists do not chase their goals with all seriousness that requires for achieving the desired objectives.

As long as we had foreign assistance pouring into our exchequer and we had free and effortless ride into artificial prosperity, we failed to diversify our exports by introducing more and more products in the international markets. Pakistan has survived so far economically on borrowed money. Gradual increase in traditional exports in past years could hardly meet inflation and ever rising administration and non-development costs. The stoppage of flow of aids and grants has thus left a wide gap in our foreign exchange receipts and expenses. The drop in home remittances has made the situation even more delicate. However, with large number of corrective fiscal measures taken by the recently elected IJI Government, a few tremors of revival are being felt.

The responsibility for putting country back on the road to economic buoyancy lies squarely on the shoulders of government as well as entrepreneurs who have means and blessed with learning. We have seen large number of developing countries achieving the status of prosperous and advanced economy. We have examples of Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and very recent development in Thailand. Pakistan has much more resources and man-power and still lack speed in the race towards self-sufficiency.

If you talk to a businessman, an industrialist or a man in the street about economic situation, unemployment, education or similar matter of national concern, he will immediately blame the government for all ills of our society. It is true to an extent that past governments were more concerned to hold on power for as long a period as they could manipulate with the help of bureaucrats, greedy politicians and group of |yes man' found in every strata of our society. They were showered with innumerable favours to ensure continuity of their authoritarian rule, no matter to what extent such policies lead to our misfortune of economic disparity, faulty industrial growth, unwise agricultural policies, loss of fertile land to salinity and water-logging, depletion of forest wealth, scarcity of water, inadequate infrastructure and above all, inconceivable gap increasing between rich and poor, allowing wealth to get accumulated in the hands of a few and vast majority of population deprived of basic means for an honest living and continued to fight for their very survival.

The IJI government has received a mandate from all people of Pakistan to govern the country for next five years. Its continuance beyond mandatory period will be most welcome depending on its contribution to economic stability, eliminate corruption and injustices, plan strategy for meaningful industrialisation, bring about green revolution in agriculture and make herculean efforts to enhance exports and achieve self-sufficiency. Nawaz's government has bestowed all |Nawazish' to businessmen and industrialists with honest intentions of gearing up economic activities and create more opportunities for larger participation of large number of people and secure basic necessities of life.

Export of non-traditional merchandise is one such avenue which promises immense opportunities to cross section of our population including industrialists, technocrats, artisans, labour and all other so far neglected elements in society to come forward and share the government's burden of meeting economic challenges and make their contribution to avert crisis looming large in our face.

It is the responsibility of our businessmen and industrialists and also those who have been gifted with knowledge, business skill and physical strength to respond to innumerable facilities provided by the present government. It will be improper and unethical to keep on blaming the government for all shortcomings as government is no more an outsider but come from within the masses, by their consent and vote of confidence. People must play their constructive role to guide the Government where it falters.

Strategy for non-traditional exports

The government should invite technocrats, scientists, industrialists, agriculturists, economists and those business houses who have knowledge of Pakistan's potential to introduce new products and well versed in overseas markets. All such products must be identified, tabulated and comprehensive studies be made as regards to quality, prices, demand and supply and competitiveness in foreign countries. To achieve these objectives, government may provide a lead by formation of groups of talented people, commodity/product wise and each group will prepare report on prospects of export of each product and present to specially formed "Non-Traditional Export Cell" under the Ministry of Commerce. Composition of Cell and function of groups will be strictly on merit and competency I submit an outline of the same in following paragraphs:

1. "Non-Traditional Export Cell:

Senior most official of Ministry of Commerce, who may either be a technocrat, Economist or has workable industrial and agriculture background with appreciable knowledge of international markets, may head the "Cell". In the absence of most suitable and competent personnel, government may employ an |Expert' from private sector well versed in above outlined activities and cost of his remuneration may be met by Export Promotion Bureau from Development Funds collected from forfeiture of security deposits and auction of Textile quotas. Foreign experts and consultants may also be engaged for specific assignments, where necessary. |Export Cell' will compile Data and statistics of each potential export item and handover these initial studies to Export Promotion Groups formed for specific items.

2. Formation of Export Promotion

Groups a) Industrial Groups: There will be

several groups for study of various

industrial products having scope of

export in certain markets or if already

exported in small quantity, to study

prospects for its further growth.

Depending on work-load and

importance of each product, each

group will undergo evaluation of one,

two or more products. Final number

of groups will depend on number of

items and studies available for

exploitation. Each group will be

headed by Private Sector industrialist

who has sufficient know-how of

products and will to serve the national

interest. He will co-opt 4 or more

members drawn from Chamber of

Commerce, (preferably President or

Vice President), Economist and EPB

or commerce Ministry Official b) Agriculture Group: Same procedure

will be adopted for the evaluation of

each agriculture produce, either

several items to be evaluated by one

group of distributed among several

groups. Each group will be headed by

University level Professor of Chemical

Engineering (Agriculture) or an

agriculturist drawn from Private Sector.

It will be composed of Head of

Agriculture Research Institute, one

land owner from private sector who

has made contribution in the

development of agriculture in Pakistan,

and an official of Ministry of

Commerce. c) Miscellaneous Group: Those items

which are not covered in other

specified groups are included in this

group. This group will be headed by a

technocrat or an economist from

private sector and composed of

representatives of a Chamber of

Commerce. Individuals interested in

specific products and official of Ministry

of Commerce/EPB. d) Tourism, Shipping and Airline Group:

Tourism has been neglected in

Pakistan though we have immense

scope of its development for inviting

foreign tourists to scenic beauty spots

in the Northern region, religious

historical and archaelogical sites

spread all over Pakistan, beach of

Karachi and interior oriental villages

of different provinces of Pakistan. The

Group may be headed by an

outstanding private sector

businessman engaged in tourism and

travels and composed of retired PIA

Senior Executive, Qualified and

experienced Travel Agent, and officials

of Ministries of Tourism, Culture and


Role of Pakistan's Commercial Consulates:

Time and again, I have emphasised that our Commercial Secretaries and Consuls in various countries must study demand of imported industrial and agriculture products in countries of their posting. They should be given assignment to prepare detailed study of imports of each product, its quantity, value, presentation, source of supply, competition, shipping cost, import tariff of receiving countries and preference and taste of importers and/or consumers.

This information covering all aspects of import viability must be computerised and sent to Ministry of Commerce, Islamabad. The Commercial Secretary or Consul should have sufficient know-how of Pakistan's industrial and agricultural productivity and while compiling this information, he should be in a position to offer his comments on feasibility of replacing alien imports with Pakistan products. Assuming that the Minister of Commerce will issue such instructions, Ministry of Commerce will be prepared to embark on survey and study portfolio of each viable product and pass on this portfolio to "Non-Traditional Export Cell" for its in-depth evaluation, (Commercial Section of our overseas Embassies should also continue to monitor imports of Traditional goods on same line and regularly feed back all relevant information regarding competitive products). To substantiate my arguments regarding scope of introduction of new items, I identify some items in this paper. The list of items can be expanded by more recommendations from producers themselves as well as Pakistan Consulates, Chambers of Commerce and patriotic Pakistanis who keep their minds open and appreciate healthy approach towards Pakistan's foreign exchange earnings.

It is understood that raw materials, basic products, semi-finished products etc. though precious for us are not bringing in more foreign exchange, being prime or virgin products. More value added products particularly produced by industries will contribute to much more foreign exchange earnings and our concentration should therefore be more on giving top priorities to export-oriented industries.


I have outlined the formation of "Export Cell" and have also proposed various groups to undertake extensive exercise and come out with very constructive suggestions to give practical shape to promotional activities. It is usual practice in Pakistan to hold conferences, seminars, meetings etc. but not always accompanied by practical steps and many schemes remain in the air or preserved in cold storage. I have therefore humbly suggested that various Chambers be associated with this ambitious programme as they represent country's cream of business and industry. If one Chamber promotes one industrial product and one agriculture produce successfully, the day will not be far to find 32 new items of Pakistan in the International market, promoted by 16 Chambers of Commerce and Industry which function in Pakistan. We shall see the continuation of same efforts by all Groups and will find that with passage of time, we shall have multiple of 32 items finding outlets in large number of foreign countries.

I request Minister of Commerce to give his blessings to any programme or consider my proposals so that country derives much needed benefit. I may go even one step further in proposing that the respected Minister of Commerce may kindly recommend to the President of Pakistan to confer Tamgha-e-Imtiaz on President of any Chamber who achieves the highest non-traditional export targets by his dedication and sound planning. Private sector contribute to the economic stability of Pakistan and it deserves word of appreciation for its contribution.

List of Non-Traditional Items for Promotion of Exports

A. Industrial Products 1. Paper and paper-board including

packaging Materials, Printed

Brochures, Catalogues, Leaflets,

stationery, notebooks, bags, religious

and other books and periodicals. Our

paper industry is in a unique position

to meet entire Middle East

requirements of paper, board and

paper products, being in close

geographical proximity of rich oil

producing countries. There is also

scope of exports to some african

countries, Sri Lanka, Nepal etc. 2. Baggage pulp for paper making, Pulp

produced from cotton waste, lint,

cotton, rags etc, is also in big demand. 3. Industrial and domestic Sewing

Machines, spares, accessories

needles, Bobbins etc. Pakistan has

big requirement of industrial sewing

machines and must go for assembly

in the first stage and manufacturing

fully within short period. These

machines have ready market in Middle

East and African countries. 4. Trucks, pick-up, trailers, small cars,

battery operated vehicles, forklifts,

automobiles spares, tyres, tubes,

radiators, batteries, automobiles light

assembly, gaskets, filters etc. 5. Upholstery and Curtain cloths made

from variety of cotton fabrics from

power-looms, hand-looms, jacquard

woven fabrics, blended, knit, synthetic

and lined fabrics, rexine, leather

artificial silk etc. (we have not exploited

overseas markets fully for furnishing

fabrics). 6. Synthetic Machine-made carpets 7. Industrial Spares, accessories, tools,

equipment. 8. Tanks, cylinders, boilers. 9. M.S. Bars, M.S. Sheets, corrugated

sheets and aluminium sheets. 10. Workshop machinery such as Lathe,

Drill, Boring, Shaping, Cutting Machine

etc. 11. Marble onyx highly polished and/or

metal lined table tops, floor tiles, wall

panels, adopting Italian techniques

and designs (other onyx articles are

being exported as traditional items). 12. Machinery for sugar mills, cement

mills, match factories, textile mills

including looms etc. 13. Particle Board, chip board, MDF

Board. 14. Bi-cycles and bi-cycle parts,

tyres/tubes. 15. Typewriters, Telephone and Intercom

instruments. 16. Used X-ray films. 17. Footwear for Ladies, gents and

children. 18. Asbestos sheets and pipes.

B. Agriculture Produce: 1. Fresh fruits and vegetables including

mushroom (except mangoes, export

of other fruits and vegetable is

negligible) 2. Canned fruits and fruit juices. 3. Spices, Lentils, Dals, Chickpeas etc.

(Short supply of these items within the

country is because of wrong planning.

We have scope to enhance our

agriculture produce for domestic

market as well as export). 4. Vegetable oils and Hydrogenated oils. 5. Sweet corn and corn oil. 6. Rice Husk oil 7. Olive and olive oil (Large scale

plantation can be undertaken water

requirement being low. Turkey can

assist Pakistan). 8. Cereals 9. Dry fruits 10. Refined Sugar, Glucose etc. 11. Maize and starch 12. Poultry Feeds 13. Tobacco (all varieties including virginia

quality) 14. Sausage casings, animal bons, etc. 15. Flowers and horticulture items.

C. Minerals and Chemicals: 1. Gold and silver jewellery 2. Sulphur 3. Graphite 4. Soda Ash 5. Chlorine 6. Caustic Soda 7. China-clay 8. Copper

Large number of other minerals and chemicals are available for export.
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Author:Soorty, Rashid
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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