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Event Title: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Zeeshan Khanzada

Event Date: 2022-01-12

Islamabad (12th January 2022):  A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Zeeshan Khanzada here at the Parliament House on Wednesday.

The committee put forward the recommendation to the Ministry with reference to the Finance Committee to introduce trade in Pak Rupees on all indigenous items

The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce on Wednesday established to conduct meetings with Ministry of Commerce on the tariff compositions. The Secretary, Ministry of Commerce informed the committee that the tariff compositions for the financial year 2022-2023 will be finalized before 31st march, 2022.  Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, Chairman Commerce said that the tariff composition comes under the ambit of the Ministry of Commerce; the Federal Board of Revenue should not by pass the Ministry of commerce while determining the tariff rates as observed in the money bill 2021. The committee also recommended that the powers to determine the tariff composition should be shifted to the Ministry of Commerce. Deputy Chairman Muhammad Mirza Afridi inquired about the mechanisms through which the tariff is determined. The Secretary Ministry of Commerce informed the committee that the tariff compositions are determine in consultation with the National Tariff Commission (NTC) and Trade Economist Team. The Chairman Committee also gave directives to sought information on the Textile Policy Review in the next meeting.

The Minister for Commerce, Razzaq Dawood marked that following a meeting of our trade and Investment officer in Mexico with Director General, SENASICA, the latter proposed that Pakistan may extend a new joint invitation to SENASIZA and OIRSA for a visit of expert delegation to Pakistan. Ministry of Commerce has requested the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, and the Department of Plant Protection to work on this proposal at the earliest to enable swift resolution of the matter.“600 Million Dollars stock in Mexico was present at that time” Senator Saleem Mandviwalla remarked. “All the countries were able to lift ban expect Pakistan” he added. The committee was informed that Mexico imposed a ban on rice import from Pakistan due to Detection of Khapra beetle in some shipments. In December 2014, a technical expert from Mexico visited Pakistan; however, the ban was not lifted. The Ministry informed that visit of Mexican inspectors is expected in Feb and delay is only because of covid

The Minister briefed the committee on EU GSP-Plus Status. The Minister remarked that the European Union’s Special Incentive Arrangement for Good Governance and Sustainable Development (GSP Plus) incentive provides many Pakistani export oriented products including garments, bed linen, terry towels, hosiery, leather, sports & surgical goods etc duty free access in the EU market.

The committee was informed that 66pc of tariff lines from Pakistan benefit from to tariffs (Duty free access), covering top 10 products sectors of export to EU –all except cereals like rice Remaining 24 pc enjoy MFN tariffs. The scheme includes concession to Pakistan –no reciprocal concession to EU.

The committee was informed on the Pak –EU Bilateral Trade under the GSP Plus. Pakistan’s Total trade with EU has increased by 27pc from USD 10,640 Million in 2013-2014 to USD 13,531 Million in 2020-21. Pakistan exports to EU has increased by 47pc from USD 6,095 Million in 2013 -14 to USD 8,943 Million in 2020-21 Similarly, Pakistan imports from EU has increased by 1pc from USD 4545 Million in 2013 -14 to USD 4,588 Million in 2020-21. The trade balance has increased in favour of Pakistan from USD, 1,550 Million in 2013 -14to USD 4,355 Million in 2020-21.

The committee was also informed that the Fourth Biennial Review of GSP Plus (2020-22) has commenced with the EU for monitoring the implementation of the 27 UN conventions The EU Monitoring Mission is expected to visit Pakistan in February, 2022. Priority areas for Monitoring include issues on Human Rights, Women Rights, Minority Rights, Labor Rights, Child Rights and Climate Change, the Ministry informed.

On the issue of adding Non –Afghan Origin goods including perishable goods auto parts, spare parts and tobacco in the allowed list of trading goods the Chairman committee directed the Ministry to hold meetings with Mr Akhtar Kakar, Vice President Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) and pursue the list of ban items and make a way forward on the subject.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi , Senators Fida Muahmmad, Saleem Mandviwalla, Danesh Kumar, Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan , Muhammad Abdul Qadir. The Minister for Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood, The Secretary Ministry of Commerce and other senior officials of the attached departments were also in attendance.