Islamabad: The federal cabinet officially approved the country’s five-year trade policy framework on Tuesday, after a protracted period of being in the papers for reviews and consultations.

According to officials, the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2020-25 intends to improve Pakistani firms’ ability and capacity to create, distribute, and sell products and services as efficiently as or more efficiently than their competitors.

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Various sectors, including traditional sectors such as textile and apparel, leather, surgical instruments, sports goods, carpets, rice, cutlery, and developmental sectors such as engineering goods such as auto parts, pharmaceuticals, marble and minerals, processed food and beverages, footwear, gems and jewellery, chemicals, and methanol, are included in the policy, which was prepared after studying international demand trends and the capacity and capabilities of different export sectors of the country.

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According to Ministry of Commerce officials, the new trade policy’s main focus will be on geographical and product diversification, manufacturing cost reduction through tariff rationalisation, pursuit of regional connectivity, particularly the Look Africa policy, enhancement of market access through FTA/PTA, and facilitation of logistics and tracking under the TIR, as well as regional connectivity for access to Central Asian Republics (CARS), Turkey, and CIS countries.

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Furthermore, an institutionalised structure for strong policy monitoring and implementation will be in place to minimise policy implementation gaps, which have traditionally remained a weak link in the export ecosystem due to multi-organizational functions.

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