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Event Title: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was held at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Zeeshan Khanzada

Event Date: 2022-02-28

 A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was held at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Zeeshan Khanzada.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman Senate, Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Ahmed Khan, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Trade, Textiles, Industry, Production and Investment Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Secretary Commerce, Chairperson National Tariff Commission and officials from various Chambers of Commerce.
 
The meeting began with an online briefing by the Trade and Commerce Counselor at the Pakistani Embassy in Malaysia on bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia. The trade counselor informed the committee that Pakistan's exports to Malaysia had reached 380 million which were earlier around 160 million. Exports in January alone were about 40 million. Rice, onion, maize and textiles are the major commodities exported to Malaysia. Rice exports have increased from 126 MT to 347 MT.  Imports of onions 183 MT, Maize 169 MT and textiles also increased significantly. On the occasion, Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Muhammad Afridi said that there are business opportunities related to the textile sector in Malaysia and the government needs to focus on this. "Faisalabad industry can play a key role in this regard. These opportunities can be taken full advantage of by improving coordination". said Deputy Chairman Senate.  Chairman Committee Senator Zeeshan Khanzada appreciated the efforts of the Trade Counselor and hoped that these efforts would further increase the trade volume between Pakistan and Malaysia and reduce the trade deficit.
 
The question raised by Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman In the Senate session regarding the exchange of various delegations for the promotion of international trade in the last three years was discussed in detail. The Secretary Commerce said that the whole world is suffering from travel difficulties due to the Corona pandemic. Due to which visits of trade delegations to Europe, South Asia and China are not possible.  Afghanistan and Central Asian countries have been the focus of attention in this regard. Relevent people were made part of different delegations in visits to promote trade with Central Asia and Afghanistan after consultation with all stakeholders. He added that the Pakistani business community could apply to the ministry to be part of the delegation on any visit.  The Secretary Commerce further said that the businessmen of the four provinces have been given equal opportunities on international tours and members of the Chambers of Commerce of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been included.
FPCCI officials gave a detailed briefing to the committee regarding the budget 2022/23 proposals/recommendations.  The briefing included real estate development and valuation, income tax and sales tax audit, widening of tax net, turnover tax, incentives for small and medium enterprises, Mining industry status, minerals value addition, construction of dams in Balochistan, completion of kachi canal, Organic agricultural production in Balochistan, Conversion of traditional farming methods to modern techniques, vertical farming techniques, incentives for livestock and fisheries. The Commerce Secretary said the ministry had sought budget recommendations/proposals by March 31. The Pakistani business community should submit all its recommendations to the Ministry in writing before March 31. The Commerce Secretary assured the participants that all suggestions would be seriously considered.  Senator Ahmed Khan expressed his reservations over the price of steel products in Pakistan. Senator Ahmed Khan said that the price of steel products in Pakistan is very high and the steel mafia is behind it. The steel sector has a profit margin of 30-40% which has a direct impact on the construction sector.  Senator Ahmed Khan also expressed concern over the performance of auto industry in Pakistan. He said that the vehicles manufactured in Pakistan are substandard which is leading to loss of precious lives in accidents.  Senator Ahmad Khan demanded that a special committee be formed to look into the matter.  Chairman Committee Senator Zeeshan Khanzada reiterated his commitment to take up the matter at the relevant forum and said that the matter will be taken up with the Engineering Development Board.