Karachi: The Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) held an inaugural joint virtual consultation session with Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Investment Council (TIC), Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Pakistani attaches in Africa, at EFP Economic Council ( EFP-EC) Secretariat. The meeting was led by Masood Naqi, CEO Rajby Industries and advisor of the EFP-EC and graced by President of EFP, Ismail Suttar and secretariat director Mehmood Arshad, Coordinator, Abdullah Ali Khan & Ayesha Awan Younus of EFP Diplomatic Affairs Section.
The attending dignitaries comprised of Muhammad Mudassir, Section Officer Africa, Munir Sadiq, Minister of Trade and Investment, Ehiopia and Trade and Investment Attaches: Qazafi Rind, Algeria, Laiq Daraz Khan, Kenya, Uganda and Bhundi, Junaid A. Memon, Casablanca, Morocco, Shoaib Anwar, Senegal, Humaira Israr, South Africa, Khalid Salim, RG Blue, Sidra Haque, Egypt, Salim Sher Muhammad, South Africa and Managing Director of National Brand Development of Africa, & Ali Tamkeen, Nigeria.
The discussion enfolded on basic trade data gathered by EFP with a single agenda of identifying those potential products, which carry good potential for export to Africa. The EFP-EC Secretariat pointed out that Pakistan’s current exports to Africa had for decades remained dismally low at 0.3pc of Africa’s world imports of US $ 560 billion, with undesired absence of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and unexploited opportunities in various trade lines that beg. attention of the business community of Pakistan.
Ismail Suttar, EFP president said that the African market is dominated by monopolists belonging to competitor trade partners of Pakistan who are sitting for generations on items that already fall under prime world export of Pakistan. For example, denim and medical surgical goods going in bulk into Egypt and high volume of rice into Kenya. However, due to changing preferences and import substitution program gaining momentum in top African countries, the export could get compromised. We need to adapt.
Masood Naqi, advisor EFP-EC, while reflecting on the sentiments of the attending dignitaries on the need to strengthen bilateral trade relations, emphasized on the pivotal role the TIC, TDAP and Pakistani attaches will have to play in penetrating markets and getting a first FTA signed amid changing demand patterns due to the COVID.
Several suggestions were shared by the Pakistani attaches, such as setting up warehouses and organizing well-structured marketing campaigns in targeted African countries, especially through e-commerce platform. Regular road shows and trade exhibitions will promote placements of Pakistani products on shelves of African countries.
The preliminary meeting will be followed by several rounds of deliberate and focused discussions on HS Tariff lines as identified by the EFP Pak-Africa Committee. Each of these will then be scrutinized and aligned with findings of the Pakistani economic team in Africa with genuine input from committee members representing the Pakistani industries. EFP looks forward to working with the Government of Pakistan on its vision to boost world exports.