January 25, 2015 – By Ijaz Kakakhel –
ISLAMABAD: To improve living standard of Balochistan’s farmers, government has announced several initiatives to increase their agriculture exports to several countries including Iran under in Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2012-15, sources told Daily Times on Saturday.
Ministry of Commerce announced this in STPF to help the farmers so that exports could be increased. According to the incentives, farmers growing dates and olives in Balochistan will be provided subsidy on cost of plants and machinery for dates and olives processing up to 50 percent.
Mark-up subsidy at 50 percent of the prevailing mark-up rate to be provided to farmers setting up meat processing plants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan, they maintained.
Ministry of Commerce is facilitating farmers of Balochistan to promote exports by addressing their problems in bringing their export earnings proceeds from Iran.
Exporters from Balochistan are of the view they may be exempted from the requirement of realisation of their export proceeds in US dollars and may be allowed by State Bank of Pakistan to accept other commodities from Iran in lieu of their exported goods, the sources maintained. The Ministry of Commerce has taken up the issue of traders with State Bank of Pakistan through a letter from Secretary Commerce and reply in the matter was likely to be received soon.
The incumbent government is undertaking a land port authority, whose phase II will include will include Taftan Land Port with Iran. In order to enhance trade from Balochistan, Gul train Project is also under consideration. Gul train would be an international train freight service between Islamabad and Istanbul via Tehran, Iran. The Ministry of Commerce has begun negotiating a new trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement between Pakistan-Afghanistan and Tajikistan on the basis of APTTA. The federal government is considering a Quetta-Taftan highway to facilitate trade with Iran. Farmers of Balochistan will benefit immediately from China trade corridor that will link Gwadar with rest of the country.
Officials in Ministry told Daily Times seafood was being exported to European Union (EU) member states. The trade statistics for January-September 2014 indicate there has been an export of $2.47 million to EU representing an increase of $2.12 million over the same period in 2013. The EU had delisted all the companies exporting fish from Pakistan in 2007. It was primarily done on the account of failure to meet EU’s SPS measures. As a result, there was no export of seafood to EU during 2007-2013. As a result of the efforts of Ministry of Commerce and Marine Fisheries Department, EU lifted the ban in June 2013. Two exporting establishments are now being allowed to export to EU member states.