“Free trade to guarantee peace and prosperity between India and Pakistan”

Karachi: As the old adage goes, “when goods cannot cross borders, armies surely will”, only free trade and not protectionism, will guarantee peace and prosperity for both India and Pakistan, said libertarian thinker Dr. Tom G. Palmer.

He was delivering a key note speech on ‘Free Trade, Peace and Prosperity’ organized by Economic Freedom Network (EFN) and speaking during a separate reception given by Women Media Centre (WMC) Pakistan at a local hotel last evening. Addressing the seminar, Palmer suggested that protectionism is based on the mentality and a corresponding set of policies that emphasize the opposing interest of nations, but “free trade, in contrast, links nations together in peace.”

He termed trade “at the very foundations of human civilization”.“The most common error of protectionists is to confuse absolute advantage with comparative advantage,” Palmer said. “Even if the person sitting in the front row is better at everything than I am, we can each benefit from trade if he specializes in what he does best and I specialize in what I do best.”

Former adviser to Sindh Chief Minister Dr Kaiser Bengali highlighted the need of following a balanced path while ensuring competition and protection of the local industry in the interest of labour’s welfare. Prominent women rights’ activist Najma Siddiqui said that trade is desirable to offset what countries lack and need or to overcome shortages and as long as it does not take away rights of citizens from their own resources.

“Trade needs strict regulation and transparency so that it does not descend into a free-for-all, where by the monopolists of capital and resources have caused global impoverishment, including the rich and industrialized countries,” she added.

In the reception hosted separately for Palmer, WMC Executive Director Fauzia Shaheen said the country has consistently experienced dictatorships, authoritarian rule, extremism, corruption, bad governance, poor delivery, loan-based bound economy, arrested development and visionless leadership.

“The fruits of capitalism, liberalism, globalization and free-trade market economy shall be shared by all societies that are least or less development and underprivileged,” she said.

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