SEATTLE — USAID and Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) have partnered to spearhead the Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Project (PREIA), with the goal of furthering the development of Pakistan’s trade and transit sectors. The project also facilitates the integration of Pakistan’s economy into the region as well as globally, to build stability.
“PREIA’s focus on trade promotion and facilitation will include collaboration with the public and private sector stakeholders in Pakistan to improve trade and transit competiveness that result in increased trade and transit volumes,” USAID stated in a recent report.
The project was begun on Sep. 1, 2015, and is slated to continue until Aug. 31, 2020. DAI is a global development company that works to facilitate social and economic development, ensuring profitability and sustainability.
Here are five things a global citizen should know about PREIA and Pakistan.
- As a developing country, Pakistan has made significant economic strides in the past few years. According to the World Bank, the country’s economy has increased by a full percentage point over the last three years. Moreover, while Pakistan’s population has also increased over the past decade, its GDP has grown at a healthy rate, from approximately $137 billion in 2006 to $283 billion in 2016.
- DAI’s role in PREIA includes helping local organizations build the capabilities to support local trade reform and modernization in ways that are beneficial for local stakeholders. Building stability within local economies ensures that the nation’s developmental goals as a whole can be realized, and local populations empowered.
- Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce initiated a consultation process that involves private sectors while implementing the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) throughout the years of 2015-2018. The Times of Islamabad reported that the initiative included setting up seminars in various cities, where the private sector could get educated on how to utilize the initiatives provided in the legislation.
The program created an open channel of communication between policymakers and those who would be affected by the policy, fostering collaboration and partnership and ensuring successful implementation of the policy.
- One of PREIA’s goals is to improve regional trade and transit facilitations by customs. Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China signed the Free Trade Agreement in 2006, which established clearer trade rules between the countries and promoted the avoidance of trade barriers. The agreement opened up greater flow of goods between Pakistan and China, and trade between the nations was confirmed with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor in 2015.
- Another of PREIA’s goal is to improve the business-to-business networking linkages with Pakistan’s regional counterparts. This is part of the process of integrating the country more fully into the local economy. In 2016, the Local Resources Network (LRN) was launched in Pakistan. The LRN is a business networking platform designed by the three European Ethical Trading Initiatives to “provide opportunities for sharing local knowledge and expertise on tradition issues in countries around the world.” the Ethical Trading Initiative reported.
The Initiative recognized the potential within Pakistan’s economy to grow and develop with new investments and realized market opportunities. Interaction among stakeholders locally, regionally and globally can contribute to these integrations, and empower local businesses to thrive.
– Hannah Pickering