ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood said the country’s exports target of $25 billion could not be achieved due to ongoing situation the country.

In an interview with Voice of America, Dawood said exports could decline to $22 billion this year.

The Advisor said exports decreased by 50 percent last month and home remittances also declined due to ongoing situation.

To a question he said Pakistan could get benefits from low oil prices in current evolving situation in international market and there would be no larger impact of Current Account Deficit because of decline in petroleum prices.

He also vowed for opening the industrial sector in coming months to provide opportunity to local exporters to get more benefits in current scenario and major shift in international trade market.

He urged exporters to get orders freely from all countries including textile industry to tap the new opportunities in the world market.

Replying to a question on impact of current situation on country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he forecast that it would contract by 0.5 percent during the current fiscal year. He said even in recent challenging situation Pakistan has opened various sectors including information Technology and sect vices sectors, which attracted the world to the Pakistan product in these sectors.

To a question on textile sector export, he said Pakistan was receiving big orders of face masks and sanitizers. “We have also received huge demand of hydroxychloroquine and Pakistan has exported raw material to Germany and Turkey and 1,000,000 tablets to Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Replying to another question on US-Pakistan trade talks, he said Pakistan wanted access in potential US market for this, “We demanded the US government to eliminate the travel restriction for Pakistan to increase bilateral trade.”

He said during the visit of Prime Minster Imran Khan, both the countries were agreed to start dialogue for searching the new avenues for bilateral trade in US and Pakistan.

The adviser said that Pakistan also demanded to the United States and other international brands and companies to open their offices in Pakistan for bringing foreign investment in the country. He said Pakistan wanted access in Textile, Informati9on Technology and Services sectors in potential US market to increase our exports.

Replying to another question on Afghan Transit Trade, he said our trade agreement was going to expire in June 2021, and now “we are in preparation to negotiate with them”. He said Afghan transit trade gave loss to local industry. He said Pakistan wanted to increase the bilateral trade with Afghanistan but “we had some reservation and there is need to take some measures to protect the local industrial sector.” Replying to another question, he said government wanted to increase customs duties instead of direct tax. The government wanted to document the non tax businesses and bring them in tax net, he added. He said the government might not change export tariffs and tax slabs in the upcoming budget (2020-21). —NNI