ISLAMABAD: It has been disclosed that private companies were mixing harmful powder in children’s milk, which increased their chances of getting cancer. This was stated in the Senate Standing Committee on commerce on Wednesday when discussions were held on the question of Senator Ateeq Sheikh regarding the import of huge quantity of powdered milk. Senator Mian Ateeq Sheikh said that the government should immediately ban imported wary powder in the country so children could be shielded from its effects. Wary powder is being used in milk and other products and its import has increased in recent years. Replying to the question, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce Muhammad Arshaf told the meeting that the powdered milk imported in the country was subject to standard control and was checked by the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) under the ministry of science and technology. He further stated that commerce ministry was only responsible for policy making and implementation was the responsibility of FBR, PSQCA and provincial governments. The committee chairman on this occasion stated that this was a very important matter and the government should test the samples of imported powdered milk and submit a report in this regard. The committee also discussed the agenda of falling exports, especially on the back of a recent package announced by the prime minister for promoting exports. The committee has expressed dismay at falling exports of the country. Special Invitee Senator Nauman Wazir raised the matter of negative impacts of 90% of Pakistan’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries. He said that the trade deficit (ratio of exports and imports) with China has increased from $4 million to $12 million and asked whether the commerce ministry is coming up with any plan to arrest the deficit. Senator Shibli Faraz also questioned what compelled Pakistan to opt for a Free Trade Agreement and how we monitor and safeguard our interests after signing. Senator Usman Khan Kakar said that instead of promoting Pakistan’s industry, the government is promoting Chinese industry in Pakistan. We should focus on country exports in spite of personal friendship. The committee while discussing the Act of TDAP, observed that it was too widespread and its work ambit was to be constrained. Secretary TDAP told the meeting that there was nothing inherently wrong with the act and the trade development authority is working towards rationalising the major objectives. TDAP will share its recommendations in amending the act with the committee who will subsequently share its views.