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PR No. 30 “FOR TRADE GROWTH, LOGISTICS EFFICIENCY IS AS IMPORTANT, IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT, AS PRODUCTION CAPACITY & REDUCTION IN TARIFFS” …..ENGR. KHURRAM DASTGIR KHAN Islamabad: January 4, 2017

The honorable Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan said this while addressing the audience as Chief Guest at the opening ceremony of National Workshop “IMPLEMENTING THE WTO TRADE FACILITATION AGREEMENT (TFA)” at Islamabad on January 04, 2017.

The Workshop was organized by Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with USAID Training for Pakistan (TFP) project from 4-6 January, 2017 at Serena Hotel, Islamabad.

The honorable minister welcomed the Participants to the workshop and stated that WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) provides an opportunity to reduce time and cost of international trade transactions by improving the transparency and efficiency of border procedures. “Trade Facilitation has significant importance for the economic agenda of countries around the world and that it is a worldwide response to the reality that logistical efficiency is just as important as production capacity”, added the minister.

Khurram Dastgir Khan further said that the first step in the direction of implementation of the TFA is to complete the ratification process and Pakistan was the first country in South Asia to ratify the Agreement. “So far 103 members have completed their ratifications and the agreement will soon come into force, once the 108th member ratifies it”, added the minister.

The second step, stated the minister, “is to ensure that trade facilitation reforms are implemented efficiently in their true spirit and that businesses fully utilize the opportunities to make the potential gains a reality. “Pakistan has already notified its Cat-A commitments – measures that we feel are implementable immediately and are dedicated and committed to notify Category B & C commitments soon”, added the Minister.

The minister informed the participants that Competition in international market has increased tremendously and companies are now dependent on efficient, fast and reliable movement of goods with time efficiency becoming a key indicator of competitiveness. The minister further said that in countries where trade environment is more favorable in terms of formalities, procedures, and the related exchange of information they are in a better position to take advantage of new opportunities to grow and to create new jobs. This is what Trade Facilitation is all about: helping countries to obtain substantial benefit from these opportunities by putting in place simple, fast and secure trade processing mechanisms.

The Minister put forward that the private sector is well aware of the problems caused by high costs and delays at the border and the barriers to trade and stated that with the implementation of TFA the cost of trade can be reduced by an average of 14.5%, which is an impact that is greater than the elimination of tariffs. “This workshop is a step in that direction and we have invited representatives from public and private sector organization involved in trade facilitation to make them aware of the requirements of TFA, our readiness for its implementation and the steps required to make this a success for Pakistan, added the minister for commerce.

At the end the honorable minister opened the workshop and thanked USAID for their efforts and providing necessary support and also appreciated the resource persons from ITC, UNCTAD and mission at WTO for accepting the invitation and making the workshop a valuable contribution to the operationalization of TFA.

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