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New policy to appoint staff at trade missions abroad from next year: Dastgir

New policy to appoint staff at trade missions abroad from next year: Dastgir

ISLAMABAD: New policy for the appointment of officers as commercial counsellors, commercial attachés and others at Pakistani trade missions abroad is likely to be implemented next year.

“A complete new badge of officers at Pakistani Trade Missions will be sent and all the sitting officers will be called back by the Ministry of Commerce,” said Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan in an exclusive interaction with this scribe here on Wednesday.

A total 63 Pakistani trade missions are situated in some 42 countries of the world with five vacant seats of Minister (Trade) and Commercial Secretary at in five cities of Kandahar, Dhaka, Brussels, Moscow and Al-Khubar of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Russia and Saudi Arabia respectively.

“As per new policy each commercial attaché will be appointed abroad for a non extendable three years’ term as well as every commercial attaché will be bound to serve at Ministry of Commerce for another three years’ term,” he said, adding that there were number of commercial attaches and commercial counsellors who had been appointed at same station or country more than eight years’ term.  He admitted that it was also a common practice that officers from other departments by using influence get appointed at trade mission on deputation basis and then seek extension in their job contract. When these officers return home, they start struggle to get back to their parent departments after coming back from abroad.

“Therefore, no officer will be taken from other department on deputation and appointed at trade mission abroad and all officers would be taken from MoC and attached departments,” the minister said cleared, adding that every officer would have to serve the division concerned of Foreign Trade at MoC after spending three years at Pakistani trade missions.  He further told that MoC had carried out a performance evaluation exercise of the officers appointed abroad at trade mission regarding their contribution in increasing Pakistani exports to other countries, which reflected that some 36 officers had performed well while performance of the remaining had been found below the criteria and unsatisfactory.

He said that appointments of the officers of the new badge at trade missions would be made transparently and totally on the basis of commitment and devotion level shown by them during their service. To a question regarding Pakistan’s biggest achievement at recently held Pakistan-Turkey Joint Ministerial Commission meeting, the Minister said that Pakistan floated the suggestion of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between both the countries, instead of haggling on Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which both sides had spent lot of time and energy to convince on their side, but in vain.

He further said that Pakistan also sought accreditation for Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) for issuance of certification from Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) which would earn worldwide recognition for certification issued by PSQCA as TSI was recognized by the European Union (EU).

It is pertinent to mention here that PSQCA Director General Pir Bakhsh Jamali and President TSE Hulusi Senturk signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on December 23, 2013 during visit of Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan to Pakistan. The objective of the MoU was to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two country in the fields of standardization, conformity assessment (testing, inspection, certification etc.), metrology, calibration and other related activities, with the common aim of learning from each other’s experience for mutual benefit and for facilitating mutual trade.

MoU was also aimed to encourage both country to harmonize their standards and conformity assessment procedures with respect to products, processes and services. Business community from both sides can get useful technical information about standards, conformity assessment procedures applicable to product in either country. This MoU will be helpful to remove technical barriers between two countries, indeed.

It is important to mention here that both the organization are the member of international community i.e. International Organization of Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) and Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC).