Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Government targets Russia for agriculture exports

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has asked Ministry of Commerce and Food Security as well as Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to make Russia as a destination for the country''s agricultural exports. Chairing a meeting here on Wednesday, the Finance Minister said that the Pakistan must take advantage of the space created following a ban imposed by Russian government on agriculture imports from European countries.

He directed Ministry of Commerce and National Food Security to come up with a comprehensive plan on export of agriculture products to Russia to enhance overall exports and reduce the current account deficit. Dar directed Ministries concerned to prepare for the World Food Exhibition 2015 in Moscow; upon which, the Secretary Commerce informed the meeting that Commerce Ministry is organising seminars in Lahore highlighting export opportunities for prospective businessmen and traders.

Dar added that prospective exporters should take advantage of the ban imposed by the Russian government on agricultural imports from Europe. Dar further stated that Russia has been importing food products worth $35 billion from around the world, particularly from European countries, and a ban on their imports has created a space of $16 billion trade. He said that Pakistan must benefit from the opportunity by exporting their goods to Russia.

He added that Pakistan agriculture sector contributes 21% to the GDP and the government can provide incentives to this sector to further prosper if new export destinations for Pakistani products are found. The Minister wanted Commerce and National Food Security Ministry to prepare a comprehensive plan identifying exportable food products, keeping in view whether surplus quantities and requisite quarantine arrangements were in place.

He further stated that quality standards must be considered in advance with a view to ensuring the success of the export plan. He emphasised that exports enhancement should not come at the cost of shortage for domestic consumers. The Secretary National Food Security and the Secretary Commerce briefed the Minister on ways and means to enhance volume of agricultural trade with Russia and stated that both the ministries have already initiated measures. The Secretary Food stated that agricultural exports would encourage investment in the agriculture sector.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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