National Conference on Open Trade: Public Private Consultation on STPF 2018-23


The Ministry of Commerce is in the final stages of formulating a draft of Pakistan’s 5-year trade policy — Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2018-2023. As in case of the earlier Frameworks, this policy will primarily focus on boosting the country’s dwindling exports. However, the time horizon for achieving the objectives is five years instead of three years as was the case for the two previous policies.

Unfortunately, none of the previous strategic frameworks has been successful in meeting their targets. For example, the export target for the STPF 2015-2018 was to enhance exports from $23.6bn in 2014-2015 to $35bn but instead of increasing, exports declined to $20.4bn in 2016-2017. Similarly, when the 2012-15 Framework was announced, the Government envisaged exports of US$95 billion during the three-year period, compared with exports of US$67 billion during 2009-12. Again the annual exports never exceeded $25bn which was achieved 2011-2012.

The Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) – a public policy think tank based in Islamabad – believes that the government needs to adopt an alternative strategy to improve Pakistan’s competitiveness and improve its export performance. In order to explore various options, PRIME is organizing a High-Level Consultation to bring together trade experts from academia, think tanks, media, the business community and government to come together and share their recommendations for the upcoming STPF.


While the overall discussion will be about trade and how to boost exports for Pakistan, some specific topic which will need inputs from participants will be:

  • What should be the overall direction of trade policy?
  • How to make bilateral and regional trade agreements work for the benefit of Pakistan’s exporters?
  • How to ensure better coordination amongst the relevant government agencies such as MOC, FBR, SBP and other stakeholders?
  • What role can CPEC play to improve Pakistan’s international trade?


The National Conference on Open Trade will commence at 14:00 PST, and continue until early evening. The schedule will be as follows:

02:00 PMRegistration & Networking
02:30 PMWelcome NoteDr Shimail Daud – Trustee, PRIME
02:35 PMKeynote AddressDr Ishrat Husain – Professor Emeritus, IBA and former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan
03:00 PMOpening PresentationDr Manzoor Ahmad – President, PRIME
03:10 PMPresentation HourDr Vaqar Ahmed – Joint Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute

M Ali Kemal – Senior Policy Advisor, SDG Support Unit

Dr Razaullah – Executive Director, Alternate Solutions Institute

Dr Nadia Farooq – Consultant, Asian Development Bank

Saud Bangash – Resident Director, Pakistan Business Council

Ahsan Abbass – Senior Research Fellow, CPEC Center of Excellence

04:10 PMRecommendations HourRecommendations from Key Stakeholders
05:10 PMConcluding Statement by Chief GuestMr Naeem Zamindar – State Minister/ Chairman Board of Investment
05:30 PMHigh Tea

This event has been generously supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Pakistan. 

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