Closing Ceremony of 18th Specialized Training Programme
Islamabad 11th August 2010):
18th Specialized Training Programme (STP) for the officers of Commerce and Trade Group has successfully been conducted by Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development. Mr. Zafar Mahmood Secretary Commerce awarded certificates of participation/distinction to the probationary officers during the closing ceremony held on 11th of August 2010. The STP syllabi mainly comprise the following courses;
International Trade Theory
Pakistan Economy and Foreign Trade
Multilateral Trading System
Trade Development in Pakistan: Public Policy and Practice
Global Marketing and Export Management
The Specialized Training Programme extended over a period of nine-month comprised class rooms sessions, industrial attachments and visits to various Chambers and Trade bodies. The probationbary officers undertook a visit to United States Department of Commerce (USDOC), USA in May 2010 and attended an exhibition "International Telecom Week (ITW) 2010". The STP commenced on the 11th of November, 2009 and completed on the 11th of August, 2010.
Seminar on Market Access and International Trade
Islamabad (August 9 2010): Under the "Pakistan-Us Cooperation for Trade Diplomacy and International Trade" program, a five days seminar on "Market Access and International Trade" was held at the Serena Hotel, Islamabad from 09-13 August 2010 by Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development in collaboration with Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the US Department of Commerce (USDOC). While speaking during the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Asaf Ghafoor, Director General, PITAD highlighted the significance of enhanced market access in increasing exports of Pakistan and its impact on economic growth. He also underscored the significance of better understanding and knowledge about the WTO legal system for effective and meaningful trade negotiation on various forums. During the opening ceremony, Mr. Christian De Angelis (Economic Counselor) Embassy of the United States highlighted the importance of this program in furthering economic and trade ties between US-Pakistan. The key resource person Dr. Roberto Rios Herran (Appleton Luff International Lawyers) underlined the importance of research tools and techniques for analyzing trade policy measures and evaluating market access potential. Around 23 participants from various ministries and PITAD attended this five days seminar.
Awarding Ceremony - Executive Post Graduate Diploma (EPGD)
"Awarding Ceremony of first batch of Executive Postgraduate Diploma in "Applied Quantitative Research Techniques" has been held witnin PITAD premises on 10-Aug-2010 at 5:00pm. Director General PITAD awarded diploma to successful participants. Earlier Mrs Dur-e-Shahwar Sadozai, the head of Executive Development Programmes started the ceremony by giving brief introduction about the launching of EPGD, its aims and acheivements. She mentioned the keen interest of the participants from the following organizations/ institutions.
Planning and Development Division
Benazir Income Support Programme
International Islamic University
Mr Hammad-ul-Haq from PITAD, Ms Shazia Begum from FBS and MR Abdul-Quddus got first, second and third positions respectively.
In his address Director General PITAD appreciated the feedback of the participants and agreed to continue such public-private capacity building progammes in the future.
Mr. Asaf Ghafoor took his charge as New Director General PITAD on July 14, 2010
Islamabad (July 14, 2010): Mr. Asaf Ghafoor, an officer of Commerce and Trade Group belongs to the 7th CTP of the
Civil Services of Pakistan. He possesses vast experience of working in the Ministry of
Commerce and its attached departments, and has also worked as Directing Staff (Faculty) in
National School of Public Policy, Lahore. He has served as Economic/Commercial diplomat abroad for a considerable period of time and represented Pakistan in Geneva and Seoul. During his posting in Geneva, he represented Pakistan in the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations from 1990-95. He represented Pakistan at UNCTAD and other multilateral organizations during his tenure as Commercial Counselor in Geneva. He also worked for the Government of Saudi Arabia on a UNDP Project on "Accession of Saudi Arabia to WTO".
Senior management of PITAD and probationary officers of Commerce and Trade group
visited Washington DC
(May 9 to 28, 2010): Under the "Pakistan-US Cooperation for Trade Analysis and Research" program, PITAD in
collaboration with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the US Department of
Commerce designed two capacity building programs. In one first one, the senior management
of PITAD visited Washington DC from 9-19th May 2010 and exchanged views and experiences
with the counterpart organizations on trade policy,
trade research and training management with a view to
benefit from their experiences. The delegation visited
the World Bank Group, office of the United States Trade
Representative, USDOC, Peterson Institute for
International Economics, Center for Global
Development, USITC, and US census Headquarter.
Another delegation comprising ten probationary
officers of Commerce and Trade group and two faculty
members visited the United States under the same
program from 17-28th May 2010. The visit was intended
to enrich knowledge and expertise of the officers on
issues of international trade and expose them to the
working of relevant organizations in the United States. The officers attended "International Telecom Week (ITW) 2010 and visited United States Department of Commerce (USDOC) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Standards Developing Organization, Chambers of Commerce, US Foreign Commercial Service Centre and World Bank Group.
FAISALABAD (April 10 2010): The CSS probationers from Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD) visited the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) and held meeting with the FCCI office bearers and executive committee. The meeting was aimed at to brief the trainee officers about the activities of the FCCI and to interact with the business community.
While in his opening remarks President FCCI, Sheikh Abdul Qayyum said that for the revival of the economy and better understanding the public sector officials should be well aware about the economic problems being confronted by the business community, while briefing the audience he highlighted the major factors which are curtailing the economic growth.
He stressed that energy crisis is the key irritant which is causing damage to the industrial sector productivity whereby the hike in electricity and gas tariff, high bank mark up and law and order situation have forced the industrial sector to shut down their units.
Furthermore, due to the high production cost and tough competition in the international markets, the textile exporters are forced to sell their products at the threshold of their buyers. He recommended that the government should prepare long-term planning to overcome the energy crisis, whereby the hydropower generation units and dams should be constructed on war footing basis.
While responding to a question he said that the Value-Added Tax (VAT) law is rejected by all the chambers of commerce of the country, in this regard, the government should defer the promulgation of VAT Law for indefinite period. Dr Habib Aslam Gaba presented a brief introduction of the FCCI activities and the meeting ended with vote of thanks by the Vice President, FCCI, Shabbir Hussain Chawla and FCCI shields being presented to TDAP Director by Senior Vice President, FCCI Muhammad Ayub Mughal.
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Pakistan - Unrestricted yarn export has put value-added sector to deathbed
Mian Naeem Ahmed, Vice Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturing And Exporters Association (North Zone) termed the under-training trade officers of Pakistan Institute of Trade And Development (PITAD) as future economic managers of Pakistan and urged them to attain professional excellence enabling them to independently formulate pro-Pakistan and trade oriented policies.
He was addressing a 10-member delegation of (PITAD) that visited (PHMA) here Friday. He briefed them about the economic potential of Pakistan, adding that the knitwear sector could play a major role in winning complete economic sovereignty if it was properly encouraged and facilitated.
He pointed that Pakistan was the 4th major cotton producing country of the world. Its 60 percent exports comprised of textiles while knitwear was playing a lead role in providing jobs and in earning precious foreign exchange for the country. Vice Chairman PHMA was, however, critical of the ill impacts of war against terrorism, load shedding, continuous increase in the prices of gas, electricity and petroleum products.
He specifically mentioned the unrestricted export of yarn to the competitors and said the production of exportable surplus has declined drastically due to high prices and shortage of yarn in domestic market. He said that government had allowed 6 percent Research and Development (RandD) fund, which has been discontinued for the last 2 years. Similarly, 3 percent duty drawback facility has not yet been fully streamlined.
All these factors coupled with international recession have pushed the value added textile sector to the deathbed, he asserted. Mian Naeem also mentioned the negative attitude of various sectors and government departments but paid best tribute to Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan Federal Minister for Textile Industry who made untiring efforts to save the textile sector from total collapse. Responding to a question about free market economy, Mian Naeem Ahmed quoted the figures of Federal Bureau of Statistics and said that ironically, spinners exported yarn at the rate of 1.91 US dollars/KG but the same products were supplied in domestic market at 2.32 US Dollar.
He pinned great hopes with the under training officers and said that they must try their best to make Pakistan economically a self-reliant and fully sovereign country from the economic point of view.
Naseer Ahmed Director Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Faisalabad thanked Mian Naeem Ahmed for arranging this thought provoking sitting for the young trade officers. Later, members of the delegation also visited state-of-the-art knitwear units near Millat Town.
The delegation comprised of Suleman Khan Assistant Director, probationers Muhammad Shafiq Hadier, Fahad Raza, Ahsan Riaz Chaudhary, Ashfaq Ahmed, Muhammad Usman, Orisa Zafar, Mahvish Khadam, Quratulain Tariq and Maheen Arshad Khan. Office bearers of PHMA including Muhammad Amjad Khawaja, Zia Alamdar Hussain, Muhammad Adrees, Mubeen Alam, and Rana Aslam also attended the meeting.
Elimination of trade barriers to make SAFTA workable
Islamabad - The stakeholders, representing academia, industry and Government officials were jointly of the opinion that elimination of all types of barriers including change mindset of political mindset was much needed to make SAFTA workable.
This thought was developed in a Lecture Series on Regional Economic Integration: Deepening of SAFTA organized by SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry in collaboration with Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) supported by Freidrich Naumann Foundation on March 2, 2010 at Chamber House , Islamabad, The event was attended by a large number of participants from public and private sector and academia.
Dr. Safdar Sohail, Director General, Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD) who was the main lecturer, gave a detailed presentation highlighting the constraints which are hampering regional integration and regional trade potential. He said that SAFTA was created with much hype, but it could not produce the desired results for the Region as South Asia is still considered the least integrated region in terms of economic cooperation and trade. He stressed on the big countries of the region to play leading role in making SAFTA a successful experience as was done by France and Germany in making EU a thriving regional block.
He urged upon the need for elimination of all trade barriers so that the region could benefit from a more liberal trading environment otherwise, the SAFTA could be a pessimistic venture.
Impact of Regulatory Duty on Luxury Imports and Revenue
Generation by Dr. Sajjad Akhtar Director (Policy and Research)
Understanding Pakistan's Exports Flows: Results from Gravity Model by Dr. Yasir Kamal, Director (Academics)
Islamabad Februrary 26, 2010:
In order to study the impact of "Regulatory Duty on Luxury Imports and Revenue
Generation", Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development organized an in-house presentation on the research activities going on in the institute. Eminent economist Dr. Sajjad Akhtar, Director (Policy and Research) and Dr.Yasir Kamal PITAD, were the keynote speakers at the occasion.
In Aug 2008, GOP facing severe BOP crisis and preparing for a rescue package from the WB/IMF, decided to impose 15 regulatory duty (RD) on 373 luxury imported items. The particular research was focused to assess whether the imposition of RD on luxury imports had the intended effect, i.e., restraining or reducing $ value imports of luxury items and stabilizing trade revenues.
Dr. Sajjad during his presentation disclosed that isolating the impact of RD on luxury imports during this period became a challenging task as the period coincided with the rapid depreciation of Pakistan Rupee along with the contraction in domestic demand due to internal economic and non-economic shocks. Thus an empirical model is utilized to isolate the impact of RD from the price effect due to depreciation of the currency and income effect (proxied by Quantum Index of Manufacturing). The results from the model will enable the policy makers to draw lessons for calibrating the RD regime in terms of its duration life and coverage.
Some of the major findings that emerged from the empirical study were that the average monthly import bill on 373 luxury items declined from US $ 233 to US $ 94 million between the pre- and post-RD period. Average monthly revenues from these imports however declined marginally from Rs.1.94 to Rs.1.81 billion in the same period. B) The fall in $ value of imports is mainly due to depreciation of rupee and lower GDP growth rather than to the imposition of RD. Depreciation of the Pak rupee contributed to stabilizing the trade revenues in an environment of falling luxury imports. However, at an aggregate level, imposition of regulatory duty dampened revenue collection.
The study was conducted on the basis of Twenty-four month data from July 2007 to June 2009 (14 months prior to RD and 10 months after the imposition of RD) on $ imports, and import revenues from 373 luxury items was the data base for this investigation.
Later on, in the second session of the presentation, Director Academics Dr. Yasir Kamal in order to understand Pakistan's exports flows; results from gravity model estimation, presented the major findings that emerged from his study. Addressing the audience, he explained his views about the literature which suggested that globalization has positive impacts on international trade pattern, which is mainly attributed to ease in trade barriers (tariff and non-tariff), assimilating and globalizing regulatory and customs duties and facilitating access to world markets. The multilateral, sub-regional and bilateral trade agreements have their substantial impact and role in outlining the international trade and promotion of bilateral regional cooperation and integration.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Yasir elucidated that according to the world trade organization the share of Pakistan exports in overall world exports is 0.128 percent(2007), which is far behind than its gravitated partners i.e., India 1.04% and China 8.72%, whereas the Asian share in the world total trade stands at 29.61%.
The results of the study clearly indicate that gravity model fits the Pakistan's historical exports data and also fits the cross sectional bilateral exports data of the trading partners. The balance data approach gives better results with a two way random assumption. These estimations suggested that significant coefficients for partner's countries' GDP, population and distance variables. It was also concluded that Pakistan has been losing its potential with neighbor countries i.e. India, China and Iran and performing well in case of Afghanistan, US and EU other than Italy.
Effectiveness of Policy Responses to Global Recession: The Case of Pakistan
Islamabad December 21, 2009:
In order to address the policy outcomes to Global Recession with reference to Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development organized a lecture in Islamabad. Dr. Ishrat Hussain ex-Governor State Bank of Pakistan and currently Dean Institute of Business Administration Karachi was the keynote speaker at the occasion.
Global financial meltdown that started in August 2007 had its origin in the United States. A combination of easy monetary policy, rapid economic growth, rising asset prices, low interest rates and financial innovation created conditions whereby the American dream of a home for everyone became almost a reality. It has been more than a year from the day American financial firm Lehman Brothers collapsed. The subsequent onslaught on the global financial system set in a recession of the magnitude not experienced since 1930. Financial institutions considered rock solid such as AIG and Citibank came almost on the verge of collapse. The global recession has posed policymakers around the world with unprecedented challenges.
Dr.Ishrat during his speech emphasized the significant development of a country such as China which was suffering from starvation and famine conditions before 1978 decided to open itself up and integrate itself in to the world economy and become a power house for the world economy to the extent that it is financing the current account deficit of the United States. The real purchasing power of the American people increased in the process, as they imported cheaper goods from China. As China became the factory for manufactured goods of the world, it started providing basic essential goods, raw materials and machinery at a cost which was almost half of what the United States or the Western Europeans could produce. So the monetary easing by the Federal Reserve by cutting down the interest rates, and this increase in purchasing power led to a higher demand for goods and services. As interest rates came down substantially, monetary conditions eased, economic growth became rapid, asset prices were rising and so it made sense for that section of citizens of the United States who were not credit worthy otherwise to borrow for housing from the commercial banks or the mortgage companies, acquire a real asset whose value was going up and thereby building up their equity capital without much difficulty and paying their installments out of their growing income.
Speaking at the occasion Dr.Ishrat stressed at the need for a pro-active coordinated strategy of Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, FBR and State bank of Pakistan in order to push the exports and penetrate in the Chinese markets. "Sooner or later we have to build up a trust relation between the buyer and seller", he said.
Earlier Director General PITAD, Dr. Safdar Sohail gave his introductory remarks about the key speaker who has been well-known for his brilliant services in the field of economics and banking. Bearer of Hilal e Imtiaz and Asian Banker Life Time achievement award 2006, Dr.Ishrat previously was also the head the of National Commission for Government Reform and director for Central Asian Republics at the World Bank.
ISLAMABAD (September 09 2009): In order to address the challenges confronting Pakistan on the economic fronts, Ministry of Commerce has launched a comprehensive three years Strategic Trade Policy Framework (2009-12) document. Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim was the chief guest on the launching ceremony.
The minister appreciated the fact that the Ministry of Commerce has come up with a mid-term strategic response identifying the challenges and suggesting policy interventions. He said the world is experiencing one of the most severe recessions in the post-war period.
"Our exports have suffered a decline over the last one year and has been beset with issues like low productivity and slow diversification of export products and markets", he said. "In this backdrop, to formulate such a strategy in order to remain firm in these difficult economic times, to keep focused on our strengths, and to covert challenges into workable opportunities, is a matter of great pleasure and pride for us," he added.
Realising the need for developing and effectively implementing a national export competitiveness programme, the Ministry of Commerce has developed a three years Strategic Trade Policy framework (STPF). It would provide the reference to different trade measures by the Ministry of Commerce and other ministries from time to time.
The overall objective of the STPF is to achieve sustainable high economic growth through exports with the help of policy and support interventions by the government, industry, civil society and donors. Additional Secretary Khawaja Naeem showed deep pleasure at the launching of the STPF, which has been formulated by the Ministry of Commerce with the active collaboration of the Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD) within a short span of time. Dr Safdar Sohail, Director General, PITAD made a presentation highlighting features of the Trade Policy.
Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development, PITAD, [formerly Foreign Trade Institute of Pakistan- PITAD] conducted a training workshop titled, "Enhancing the effectiveness of Trade Policy Proposals", here on Thursday 16th April. Participants of the workshop included various government ministry officials and representatives of Chambers of Commerce. The workshop was part of the ongoing Trade Policy Analysis and Reform Programme being undertaken by the Institute under its new role of providing research based policy inputs and building trade development capacity.
The speakers included Dr. Safdar Sohail, DG PITAD, who spoke on the dynamics of export competitiveness and the usual trade policy instruments at use by the Government. He also delivered a critique of the prevalent trade policy formulation practices and observed that proposals, submitted to Ministry of Commerce (MoC) by other government ministries and Chambers of Commerce, were vague and generalized and not backed up by any research or impact assessment indicators.
He suggested certain remedial measures under the Trade Policy Analysis and Reform Programme (TPARP). The Programme laid out a number of strategies for strengthening the trade policy formulation process including making it more inclusive by reaching out to strategic stakeholders, capacity development of the initiators of trade policy proposals, involvement of academia, bringing back the strategic leadership of the trade policy formulation process to MOC, balanced use of different trade policy instruments, linking the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2009-12 with other development strategies among other measures. This workshop was undertaken as part of the capacity development strategy.
The next speaker was Dr. Irshad Peerzada, Director Research at the National Tariff Commission(NTC). Dr.Peerzada highlighted NTC's role as an institute to assist domestic industries against unfair foreign competition. He lamented the fact that the business community was unaware of this role as was evidenced by the dearth of applications received by the NTC, from the domestic industry, for support against foreign imports.
The last speaker was Dr Abid Suleri, Executive Director Sustainable development Policy Institute (SDPI) Dr. Suleri conducted an interactive training session about how to write effective policy proposals. The entire session was followed by a lively question and answer/ discussion session. Based on the interactions it was concluded that It was upto all the stakeholders to contribute to the process of development and implementation of Trade Policy,there was a need to understand each other's role and create partnerships and synergies. PITAD was always there to assist and can sit with the Industry/Ministries and help develop useful proposals for the next trade policy.
PITAD Held Closing Ceremony of the Specialized Training Programme (STP)
Islamabad (July 17 2009): The Closing Ceremony of the 17th Specialized Training Program STP was organized on the 17th of July 2009. Secretary Commerce, Mr. Suleman Ghani, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. The proceedings started with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran at 1.00 pm. Director Training Ms. Roubina Taufiq Shah, in her speech introduced the Chief Guest to the audience and gave a brief account about the redesigned syllabus, highly qualified faculty, training staff, foreign tours and the simulation exercise that were part of the Specialized Training Program. A vote of thanks was given by Mr. Suleman Khan, on behalf of the probationary officers. A few suggestions were proposed, including the importance of foreign tours, awarding of the masters degree, change in the paper pattern, and residential facility within the campus. Later, Director General, Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development, (PITAD) Dr. Safdar A. Sohail, presented his views and comments on the successful completion of the training program. He thanked the Chief Guest for taking out time and gracing the occasion with his presence.
Later on Secretary Commerce, Mr. Suleman Ghani, presented his precious views and esteemed the level of preparedness in the training program. He appreciated the efforts of the staff and faculty to redesign and refresh the training modules and the syllabus taught during the period. Furthermore, he cherished the highly qualified external visiting faculty from within Islamabad. He threw light on the suggestions presented by the officers, as he said, "We support the foreign tours undertaken by the probationers".
The event was proceeded by the distribution of shields and certificates amongst the position holders, distinction holders, faculty, subject coordinators and the training staff. Mr. Suleman Khan, Mr. Adnan Khan and Mr.Rizwan-ul-haq secured 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively. The ceremony will be followed by lunch.
Training on Macroeconomic Modeling, Trade Policy Evaluation and CGE models
Islamabad (20th – 23rd July) and (26th to 31st July)
Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development and Planning Commission jointly organized two training courses on Macroeconomic Modeling and Multi-Country Computable General Equilibrium. The first phase of the training, that is intended to introduce the participants with the building blocks of the macroeconomic models, commenced on the 20th of July 2009. This four day training program will focus to deliver lectures on the structure of macroeconomic sub-accounting framework. The second session starting from 26th July 2009 will introduce the participants with General Algebraic Modeling Software (GAMS) conventionally used for the constructing the single and multi-country CGE models.
Venue for the training course is Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD) State Life building Islamabad. These trainings are expected to develop a pool of trade specialists, which Pakistan needs desperately in order to develop and evaluate scientifically sound trade policies for the development and welfare for Pakistani citizens.
PITAD has recently attained the membership of ARTNeT; Asia-pacific research and training network on trade. ARTNeT is an informal and an open regional network composed of leading trade research institutions across the UNESCAP region, and supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. ARTNeT and its member institutions strive to convey research findings in a convenient form to policy makers.
The Asia Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade is playing a vital role in providing research and direction towards formulating international and regional trade policy. Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development, [PITAD] which is now the focal policy institute for trade policy research in the public sector, is also performing a similar role within the Pakistani and regional context. It is a matter of great value for PITAD to share experiences of ARTNeT, moreover PITAD is highly esteemed to contribute data and policy inputs from Pakistan's perspective.