December 11, 2014
* Says quality standards should be considered in advance to ensure success of export plan
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Wednesday urged senior officials of Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Food Security and TDAP (Trade Development Authority of Pakistan) to urgently come up with a plan for export of agricultural products to Russia, aiming to enhance overall exports volume of the country and lessen current account deficit.
The finance minister also called upon prospective exporters to take advantage of the ban imposed by the Russian government on agricultural imports from European countries. National Food Security and Commerce secretaries briefed the minister on ways and means to enhance volume of agricultural trade with Russia and said they had already initiated measures to secure export destinations in Russia for Pakistani food products.
Dar said Russia has been importing food items worth $35 billion from around the world, particularly European countries and the ban on imports is creating a space of $16 billion market which should be captured and “certainly we would like to have a share in this available market.” Pakistan has a sturdy agriculture sector which contributes 21% share to the GDP. “We can provide incentives to this sector to further prosper if we find new export destinations for our products,” he remarked.
The minister directed the Ministries of Commerce and National Food Security to coordinate and prepare a comprehensive plan identifying exportable food products, keeping in view whether surplus quantities and requisite quarantine arrangements were available. He observed that quality standards should be considered in advance to ensure the success of the export plan. He emphasised that exports’ enhancement should not come at the cost of shortage for domestic consumers. Food secretary responded that the export plan would take due cognisance of this factor. He also mentioned about a detailed programme for growth in agriculture with a view to enhancing agri exports. He said surge in agricultural exports will encourage investment in the agriculture sector. The minister said such a programme would be extended due consideration.
Dar further directed the ministries concerned to prepare for the World Food Exhibition 2015 in Moscow and also arrange single country exhibitions to allure foreign importers. Commerce secretary at this juncture informed the minister that Ministry of Commerce was organising seminars in Lahore highlighting export opportunities to prospective businessmen and traders.