ISLAMABAD: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) newly-elected President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh on Sunday said Pakistan needs to “connect with Silicon Valley” and that it is essential to use modern tools to tap into new markets for trade diversification.
“Without re-establishing trade ties with emerging markets, including Russia, Central Asian region, Africa, Turkey, South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and regional trade integration, the country’s economy will not improve.
He also said that by focusing on selective sectors, including IT, alternative energy, halal food market, Pakistan’s exports can go beyond their potential.
Currently, 65 per cent of the country’s trade is with 10 countries, wherein the trade volume with regional and friendly countries is almost non-existent, he added.
Sheikh said that Pakistan’s annual exports can be increased up to $5 billion in the IT sector. He drew a comparison with India, which is exporting up to $110 billion in the same sector. “We have to connect with Silicon Valley,” he said.
The president said that Pakistan’s software houses would have to set up their liaison offices in California so that they could lobby for this, and become part of the global trade to increase domestic exports.
He said that at present the country needs to pay more attention to the agriculture sector, in which the use of modern technology and tools in the agricultural sector can increase the yield per acre.
Regarding the $1.2 trillion halal food market, Sheikh said that Pakistan has no significant share in this market.
He said that Pakistan has a $30 billion potential in the gems and jewellery trade markets but it is untapped due to inadequate facilities.
Regarding alternative energy, the president said that “we need to work on alternative energy, which is providing better opportunities for energy production in the country”.
He also spoke about the country’s tourism sector which he said carried the potential of generating billions of dollars.
Sheikh reiterated his commitment to set up a research wing, which will make recommendations to the government on how to improve the economy and provide government proposals in the next budget.