Value-added exports key to $80bn target: commerce minister

Caretaker federal minister for Commerce and Industries Dr Gohar Ejaz has urged textile exporters to shift their focus to value-added products, including garments and made-up to achieve the $80 billion export target.

“I pledge to address concerns and challenges faced by entrepreneurs. I assure providing comprehensive assistance through the ministry’s trade and investment officers stationed in various international missions,” he said, while speaking to the exporters at the office of the All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) on Saturday.

During the meeting, the importance of establishing efficient banking channels for seamless trade, particularly with Central Asian countries, was highlighted. According to the minister, this aligns with the government’s commitment to cultivating robust economic connections with nations in that region, further expanding Pakistan’s trade horizons. He added that his ministry was devising a plan to boost the country’s exports by extending all-out support to the industry stakeholders.

Later, while speaking to the media, Dr Ejaz informed the industrialists about his vision to increase Pakistan’s global exports to $80bn, stating that the Ministry of Commerce is vigorously preparing the framework, where special focus would be on strategic export markets and potential products. The EU-27 zone is the largest export destination for Pakistani businesses, and the continuation of GSP+ will assist Pakistan, he hoped.

Pledges extensive assistance to entrepreneurs; proposes business parks for global trade support

He emphasised the need for the early operationalisation of the EXIM Bank and the development of innovative products to enhance Pakistan’s exports. He said that he has introduced the idea of establishing business parks to support Pakistan’s global trade. The minister expressed his determination to explore every possible avenue to realise Pakistan’s export potential. He noted that these business parks would play a vital role in achieving Pakistan’s economic growth on the international stage.

In his commitment to increase exports, Dr Ejaz stressed the importance of adopting a strategic approach. The minister also proposed a focus on specific countries based on their respective sectors to maximise the impact of Pakistan’s exports.

“The FBR, in collaboration with federal ministries and provincial departments, will introduce a Track and Trace System at ginning factories in Pakistan to promote transparent cotton trade,” he said, adding that this initiative aims to assist the textiles and apparel industry in meeting the traceability standards set by various trading blocs, nations, brands, and retailers.

Speaking on the occasion, Aptma Chairman Asif Inam eulogised Dr Ejaz’s elevation to the office of the minister for commerce and industry, saying that the textile industry is looking forward to finding a way forward under his dynamic leadership.

Aptma North Zone Chairman Hamid Zaman stated having its Patron-in-Chief as the commerce minister is a moment of pride for the textile industry. He said the industry plays a vital role in creating jobs and earning precious foreign exchange, and a close liaison between the commerce ministry and the association is the dire need of the hour.

Aptma Senior Vice Chairman Kamran Arshad briefed the visiting minister about the association’s role in addressing the industry’s day-to-day issues and urged him to help out the industry in establishing 1,000 garment units to boost exports.