Industry demands ‘digital market policy’ to spur exports in post-corona age

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ISLAMABAD:(Daily Parliament Times) The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) on Sunday appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Customs to develop an e-commerce automated clearance facility in collaboration with the Sate Bank, saying the move will prove to be very effective for SMEs, helping them promote their business, especially in era of post-corona economic slowdown. In an awareness program PRGMEA Central chairman Sohail A. Sheikh and Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar, briefed the members about e-commerce clearance facility developed recently by the Customs department of the Federal Board of Revenue. Sohail A. Sheikh said that in post-pandemic age when e-commerce is transforming the entire trade globally government’s this facilitation is the right step in the right direction. He asked the government to also launch a digital market policy in this regard after consultation with the real stakeholders so that B2B and B2C business can be catered. He said that estimated e-commerce sales value, which includes business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, is equivalent to 30% of global gross domestic product. He said that the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions, tools and services. Quoting a World Bank report, he added that the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) transactions grew from $1.5 trillion in 2014 to $2.3 trillion in 2017 and now projected to grow to $4.88 trillion in 2021. PRGMEA Central Chairman observed that the value-added garment sector, which is also the major e-commerce operator, welcomes this initiative, expressing the hope that it will remove the difficulties faced by SME sector in exporting their goods, playing an effective role in improving country’s rating in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Sohail Sheikh said the role of export-oriented sector is vital in the country’s economic growth and the government has accorded top priority to this sector taking necessary steps and measures to enhance its export efficiency, including ‘e-commerce automated clearance system’. He said the new system will facilitate documentation besides allowing commercial banks to register e-commerce traders in Web Based One Customs. It is to be noted that under the SBP regulatory framework for B2C e-commerce exports, the exporters now can send their e-commerce consignments without the requirement of E-Form up to $5,000 per consignment. PRGMEA Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar said that e-commerce is growing four times faster than the world economy. Cross-border e-commerce market in 2015 was estimated at $300 billion and is expected to be worth $ 900 billion by 2020. He said the cross border e-commerce is impacted by trade facilitation and logistics. So, poor trade facilitation and logistics will have now serious effects on economy. “We need to enhance the digital marketing activities because all the physical exhibitions have been cancelled so the only marketing way has been left now is the digital mode. All our competitors in the region are aggressively capturing the market through digital mode,” he added. Sohail A. Shikh added that the worldwide buying trend is changed, as they prefer online buying now. “For this we have to work a lot to launch the digital market policy after consultation with the business community.” He said that already the major online companies have increased their business. Again we request the government to make a strong interaction with the stakeholders to form policies in this regard at the earliest.

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