Pakistan eyes export surge as US strips India of preferential trade status

Pakistani officials said on Friday their country was trying to increase its exports to the United States after Washington announced on Monday that India would no longer be eligible for preferential market access to the US. (REUTERS/File)
Updated 08 March 2019
0

Pakistan eyes export surge as US strips India of preferential trade status

  • Pakistan’s exports to the US stand at $3.6 bn against $2.8 bn imports
  • Islamabad would have to lobby and market its products in Washington, experts say

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has been formulating a strategy to increase its exports to the United States after Washington announced on Monday that it will strip India of its preferential market access that exempted Indian exports worth billions of dollars from American tariffs, officials said on Friday.
“Pakistan’s trade balance with the United States is already much better, and we have been trying to sign a Free Trade Agreement to enhance the volume of our exports,” Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a member of the government’s Economic Advisory Council, told Arab News.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative said on Monday that India would no longer be eligible for preferential market access to the United States. Following the development, Pakistani officials began to find ways to fill the void by getting a preferential market access from the United States.
Businessmen and financial experts, however, urge the government to increase and diversify its exports to capture the US market.
Pakistan was the 55th largest supplier of goods to the United States in 2017 with the total exports worth $3.6 billion, while the imports from the US were $2.8 billion in the same period. Pakistan’s main exports to the US include textile articles, knit apparel, woven apparel, leather products, cotton, and agricultural products.
Khan said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was focused on trade partnership with leading countries of the world, including the United States. “The real issue at the moment is to increase our production and value addition … we will be able to increase our exports to the US only if we have enough production in the first place,” he added.
Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum, Jawed Bilwani said that Pakistan was exporting a “good number” of textile articles, including knitwear and woven apparels, to the United States and “this could be trebled easily if we succeed in getting a preferential market access to the US.”
“Pakistan must ensure while negotiating the FTA with the US that it helps increase our exports and the trade balance remains in our favor,” he told Arab News.
Bilwani urged the government to offer “lucrative incentives” to local and foreign investors to set up new industries to increase the country’s production line for exports and capture the international market with quality goods.
Pakistan has been benefitting from tariff preferences (mostly zero duties on two-thirds of all product categories) under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus arrangement awarded by the European Union since January 2014. This has helped Islamabad increase its exports by 13 percent so far.
Dr. Athar Ahmad, a senior economist and expert on international marketing, said that the US’ abolishment of preferential market access to India will not automatically benefit Pakistan.


US intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

Updated 20 April 2019
0

US intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

  • The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing
  • Huawei dismissed the allegations

US intelligence has accused Huawei Technologies of being funded by Chinese state security, The Times said on Saturday, adding to the list of allegations faced by the Chinese technology company in the West.
The CIA accused Huawei of receiving funding from China’s National Security Commission, the People’s Liberation Army and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, the British newspaper reported, citing a source.
Earlier this year, US intelligence shared its claims with other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, according to the report.
Huawei dismissed the allegations in a statement cited by the newspaper.
“Huawei does not comment on unsubstantiated allegations backed up by zero evidence from anonymous sources,” a Huawei representative told The Times.
The company, the CIA and Chinese state security agencies did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and amid concerns in the United States that Huawei’s equipment could be used for espionage. The company has said the concerns are unfounded.
Authorities in the United States are probing Huawei for alleged sanctions violations.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the United States on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of US sanctions against Iran.
She denies wrongdoing and her father has previously said the arrest was “politically motivated.”
Amid such charges, top educational institutions in the West have recently severed ties with Huawei to avoid losing federal funding.
Another Chinese technology company, ZTE Corp. , has also been at the center of similar controversies in the United States.
US sanctions forced ZTE to stop most business between April and July last year after Commerce Department officials said it broke a pact and was caught illegally shipping US-origin goods to Iran and North Korea. The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties.
Reuters reported earlier this week that the United States will push its allies at a meeting in Prague next month to adopt shared security and policy measures that will make it more difficult for Huawei to dominate 5G telecommunications networks.