Pakistan set to trade mobiles in January 2022, says Razak

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Pakistan will start exporting mobile phones in January 2022, Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood said on Tuesday.

In a testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce chaired by Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, the adviser said a Chinese company was fixing a mobile manufacturing factory in Karachi.

Talking to following the board meeting, Mr. Dawood said the assembly of mobile phones has already started in Pakistan. “I am now trying to convince the Chinese to start out mobile exports from Pakistan. They [Chinese] started production last year and that I had given them a target of December 2021. they need to assure me that they’re going to begin exports from January 2022 onward,” he added.

To an issue, if there have been any exports targets for mobile phones being manufactured in Pakistan, the adviser said that it’s a replacement product for exports and there’s no such target. “Two years ago, nobody was even thinking that Pakistan will start exporting mobile phones,” he said.

Regarding Samsung’s operations within the country, Mr. Dawood said that originally Samsung had refused to return to Pakistan. “However, later Samsung changed its earlier decision and agreed to return to Pakistan. A venture with an area partner is on,” he added. The adviser said he was optimistic about the uptick in exports of mobile phones from the country.

In a stock filing last week, Lucky Cement Ltd (LCL) said that its subsidiary Lucky Motor Corporation had signed an agreement with Samsung Gulf Electronics Co, FZE for producing Samsung mobile devices in Pakistan.

Commerce secretary’s absence irks committee

Ahead of the proceedings, members of the committee expressed displeasure over the absence of Commerce Secretary Muhammad Sualeh Faruqui.

Additional Secretary Commerce Mujtaba Memon said Mr. Faruqi was in Karachi preparing for Expo 2022. Senator Danesh Kumar said he won’t attend future meetings within the absence of the secretary of commerce. Senator Fida Muhammad urged Senator Khanzada to write down a letter to the Senate chairman regarding the behavior of the secretary of commerce.

Senator Kumar and Senator Ahmed Khan walked out of the committee. At the request of the chairman committee, Senator Muhammad brought the members back to the committee. Addressing the committee members, Senator Khanzada said that if this happened in the future, he also will walk out with them.

The senators also expressed displeasure over the non-provision of working papers by the Ministry of Commerce in due course of your time. Mr. Dawood apologized to the committee members for the absence of the commerce secretary.

DG national trading policy Waqas Azeem briefed the committee that exports targets within the last two programs weren’t realistic and hence unattainable. In previous trade policies, the stress was on three markets, including China and therefore the EU.

Additional Secretary Commerce Mujtaba Memon apprised the committee that the govt has reduced energy rates for industries. Duty and taxes on the raw materials are slashed too, he added. “We have created new trading partners. Our emphasis on exports in new development sectors aside from the normal sector has also contributed to our exports,” Mr. Memon said.

The commerce adviser said the govt has not offered any subsidy to the industry in energy. “The sector should be provided electricity at par with the industries of the rival countries. The new DLTL policy goes to be extended to new areas besides the normal ones,” Mr. Dawood added.

He emphasized that Pakistan’s exports were minimal and therefore the country has got to look towards new sectors. “We are bringing 11 new sectors including engineering goods, pharmaceuticals, auto parts, fruit and vegetable, meat and poultry which can further improve our exports,” he underlined.

Senator Muhammad Qasim said that some foreign companies were coming to Pakistani waters for seafood which was leaving local fishermen during a nasty situation.

Senator Muhammad raised an issue regarding the amount of marble and minerals industries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The commerce ministry should also specialize in these areas, he added.

He highlighted that after the merger of integrated areas, people weren’t being given loans to line up industries. The Senate committee chairman noted that the funding ratio of loans in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was meager. For KP, the loan funding rate is one percent, while for Balochistan it’s but 0.5pc.

The commerce adviser assured the committee that they might solve the mentioned problems while that specialize in marble and minerals.

Meanwhile, during a statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Commerce said that Pakistani rice exports weren’t banned by China. The clarification came after media outlets reported that Pakistani rice was banned by China thanks to the presence of coronavirus on sacks.

“The issue was discussed during a gathering of the Senate Committee on Commerce. The Chinese government is following strict sanitary and phytosanitary protocol measures including checking import consignments for the presence of Covid-19 virus before the port clearance.” The Senate committee was informed that Pakistani export consignments of rice were detained for port inspection and detection but were afterward release after conformity with the Chinese government’s protocols, the statement added.

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