India being biggest economy of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation region should play leading role in increasing intra-regional trade: Muhammad Ali Sheikh

Islamabad, November 21, 2013 (PPI-OT): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday said India being biggest economy of the Saarc region should play leading role in increasing intra-regional trade.

New Delhi should review its trade policy and allow direct access to Pakistani products to Nepal and Bhutan, said Vice President FPCCI Muhammad Ali Sheikh.

Speaking at an international Conference titled, “Towards an Asia Century: Future of Economic Cooperation in Saarc Countries organised by Policy Research Institute, he said that business community has been preferring trade through third countries despite braving additional cost of around 35 per cent.

He said that Pakistan has always supported and encouraged the regional cooperation but it has not helped take bilateral trade to desired level.

The VP of the Apex chamber said that cordial relations between Pakistan and India will have a very positive impact on the region as it will reduce political struggle, poverty and lawlessness.

Therefore, he stressed, Pakistan should grant MFN status to India which will pave way for visa relaxations, confidence building and understanding which is badly needed at this juncture.

Muhammad Ali said that Pakistan biggest trading partner must not be a country or an economic block located in the far-flung corners of the world but a neighbouring country.

He stressed that there is a wide scope of trade between Pakistan and India which can be enhanced to 20-25 times which has been impeded by tariff barriers, shambled infrastructure, useless tensions, costly transport, red tape, stringent customs procedures, and visa restrictions etc.

Pakistan’s 70 per cent trade was with India after partition while New Delhi used to export its 63 per cent goods to Pakistan which has now almost gone off the map, said Sheikh.

For more information, contact:
M.A.Lodhi
Secretary General
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)
B-1, Federation House, Main Clifton Road,
Shahra-e-Firdousi,
Karachi-75600, Pakistan
Tel: 0092-21-35873691, 93-94
Fax: +9221 3587 4332
Email: info@fpcci.com.pk
URL: www.fpcci.com.pk

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