TDAP sees potential in export of services
It has finally happened! It appears that the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan now believes that there is significant potential for growth in the export of services, and that perhaps, they should look beyond textiles, rice, leather and other products – important though those sectors are.
The Ministry of Commerce has set up a Services Export Development Cell (SEDC)at TDAP which is to be “a conduit for public-private dialogue for the development and enhancement of services exports of Pakistan.”
There is of course a DG who has the overall responsibility for the SEDC but unfortunately he had a heart attack the day I was to meet with him (no I normally don’t have that effect on people!) He is fortunately well on the road to recovery.
The gentleman I did meet at SEDC was Mr.Mujeeb Khan who is a Consultant with TDAP, has been heading the WTO Cell and is spearheading efforts at SEDC.
His background is that he has over 20 years experience working in different departments which fall under the Ministry of Commerce. He has worked as the First Secretary/Negotiator at the Permament Mission of Pakistan at the WTO in Genena where he represented Pakistan on Committees like the Committee on Agriculture (CoA), the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), Council for Trade Related Aspects of Intelllectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and International Textiles and Clothing Bureau (ITCB).
In my conversation with him, I got the impression that he has a good understanding of the IT and ITES market and its potential. I told him about some of the cutting edge work that is being done in this country and how much scope there was for it to grow at an enormous pace.
From what I understood, the SEDC will undertake the role of a facilitator between the services industry and various arms of government including the ministries. They will also be looking at helping to build capacity in the services sector, assisting with quality initiatives, and the projection of case studies in the local and international markets as well as be a platform for market access.
Additionally they will look at conducting research in the five service industry sectors that have been identified as priority areas: IT, Health & Medical Services, Financial Services, Professional Services and Construction & Architectural Services. SEDC will also recommend, formulate and implement service enhancement schemes for these sectors.
All of it sounded very good and Mr.Khan seems like a nice guy with good intentions but, as he himself pointed out, it will take a bit of time for the service sector to actually believe that something is going to happen. Credibility will need to be earned. My personal opinion is that since they have opened a door, let us extend our hand of cooperation and give them a chance. Let’s leave cynicism at the door.
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