Now Green Corridor

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ACCORDING to a statement of Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, Pakistan and China have agreed to launch a “Green Corridor” system that would fast-track two-way customs clearance exclusively for agricultural products. Experts have expressed the confidence that with the simplified clearance procedures and future improvement of transportation facilities, more agricultural products are expected to be imported by China from Pakistan.
The decision to launch Green Corridor between the two neighbouring and friendly countries is yet another confirmation of the widely held belief that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would prove to be a game changer not just for the two countries but the entire region, as full operationalization of the Green Corridor is deeply linked to completion and functioning of the necessary infrastructure that is a pre-requisite to giving boost to bilateral trade. A study has concluded that Pakistan can reduce its overall trade deficit by increasing its agricultural exports to China by focusing on the production of commodities which are in high demand in China. A look at China’s market reveals that it is the world’s biggest destination for agricultural products including grains, cotton, sugar, meat, and milk – and Pakistan produces almost all of these in abundance but the share of its imports from Pakistan is, at the moment, negligible. Green Corridor, of course, has the potential to enable the country to increase access to Chinese markets, which can now be more easily done due to CPEC. However, this requires proper home work by Pakistani side both at official and private-sector levels to reap the expected benefits. Apart from an all-weather access, Pakistan will have to focus on increasing agricultural productivity and here again China can offer necessary assistance. The Government should also formulate a comprehensive policy for development of agriculture sector with input from all stakeholders. This should include incentives for farmers, meaningful increase in per acre yield, grading, value addition and packaging. Additionally, it is important that the government encourages Pakistan’s private sector to modernize its business processes, invest in research and development, improve human capital, seek international certifications and meet quality standards as expected by the consumers so as to increase the demand of its exports for China.