Parliamentary Secretary for Textile, Commerce, Industries and Production Aliya Hamza Malik on Friday informed the National Assembly that the government was making concerted efforts to promote exports through the facilitation of the industrial sector by reducing its costs and rationalizing duties on raw materials. Responding to a question during question jour, the parliamentary secretary said that country’s exports crossed the figure of over $25 billion last year due to prudent policies of the government. She said gas prices have been rationalized for export-oriented sectors. She said 50 relief in electricity tariff for small and medium enterprises was granted till June this year. She said that the customs duty of two percent on 1,623 tariff lines has been removed. She further said duties on 112 tariff lines have been reduced to implement the “Make in Pakistan Initiative”. Aliya Hamza Malik said that the government is also conducting intensive trade diplomacy and trying to obtain access to new markets for local traders and industry through Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). She said the government launched the Look Africa policy initiative to promote exports to non-traditional markets in the African region. She said Pakistan has gained market access to Indonesia under the Pakistan-Indonesia PTA. She said Pakistan is in the process of negotiating FTA’s with other countries including Thailand and Iran. To a question, she said, that exports had also increased to Turkmenistan–Uzbekistan. She said that 95 million dollars orange and 139 million dollars mango had been exported to various countries. She said that mango diplomacy had been started with the objective to introduce Pakistan’s best mango to international markets. Pakistan produced a variety of fruits for export and local consumption. She said that the demand for Pakistani mango and citrus is quite high globally and both fruits are produced in bulk and exported to various countries in huge quantities. The other major, she said, fruits are banana, dates, apple, guava, and apricot, etc had also been exported to various countries, she added. She said, that being cognizant of the agriculture sector for the economic growth and development of the country, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has prioritized the agriculture sector to help boost its production and enhance Pakistan’s exports thereby. In this regard, the secretary said that MoC has established Agra Wing in December 2020 to coordinate with the federal and provincial agencies for coordinated actions to remove bottlenecks and in the supply chain and diversification of products and markets. Responding to another question she said that the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan with the support of the Ministry of Commerce organized Pak-Uzbek Business Forum on July 15, 2021, at Tashkent. Under this forum Pakistan-Uzbekistan Business conference and B2B meetings were held, she added. She informed the NA that around 101 Pakistani businessmen including leading business representatives from textile, fruit and vegetables, pharmaceuticals engineering, tourism, construction, chemicals, IT. etc., participated in the event. Moreover, representatives from leading trade bodies like FPCCI, FCCI, GCCI, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, APTMA, REAP and APFVEA, were part of the Pakistani delegation, she added. TDAP organized forum and B2B meetings, however air ticket/fare and hotel accommodation charges were paid by delegates themselves she said. She said that more than 2,000 business meetings took place and approximately $50 million agreements/deals were signed during the business forum. She said about 14 MoUs were signed on July, 15, 16 2021 covering pharmaceutical, IT, rice, fruit and vegetable, textile, logistics, sports goods, and the salt sector. The companies also signed different agreements and MOUs related to trade, investment, and joint ventures. Responding to another question she said, the volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iraq remained at $54.99 million in 2020-21. Pakistan exports to Iraq amounted to $37.18 million, while its imports from Iraq amounted to $17.81 million in 2020-21. She said that the exports to Iraq have increased by $7.94 million as compared to last year. The major exports to Iraq are fruits, potatoes, and rice. The major imports from Iraq are petroleum gases and dates. Responding to another question, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Baber Awan said the government has taken various steps for reviving the economy, accelerating the pace of economic growth, and creating employment in the country. He said the government took several special initiatives, which include construction package, textile package, Kamyab Jawan initiative, Employment generation through CPEC, and Pakistan’s Green Stimulus Package to strengthen the economy. Babar Awan said that prime minister announced the development packages as per the constitution. PM announced all the packages for various parts of the country with the consultation of all the stakeholders, he added. The speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser had also summoned secretary planning for not responding to questions of the lawmakers.