Indo-Pakistan Ministerial Meet to help implementation of SAFTA in letter and spirit: SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry

ISLAMABAD: The SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry ( SAARC CCI) has hailed the recent Ministerial talks between India and Pakistan and has termed it as the commencement of new era based on sincerity and mutual good will, which would over all benefit to the entire region of South Asia.

The incumbent President Annisul Huq has welcomed the outcome of the Ministerial dialogue between Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma and has hoped for continuation of series of dialogues between two major economies of South Asia, which is earnestly required for smooth and effective implementation of SAFTA.

“It is heartening that ministers have mandated Commerce Secretaries to cooperate for a high ambition of preferential trade relations under the framework of South Asian Free Trade Agreement and would further boost intra-regional trade, which has been insignificantly $1.25 billion under SAFTA Rule of origin while agreement to enhance bilateral trade to $ 6 billion would over improve the intra-regional trade, which remains only 5.8%.

Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President SAARC CCI (Pakistan Chapter) that the signing of MoU at Ministerial level will not only help normalization of bilateral relations but also lead towards resolution of such issues, which have been hampering the growth of socio-economic growth of the region. He welcomed the decision of easing business visas as welcome initiative and said that it would give tremendous boot to bilateral economic cooperation.

Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Senior Vice President SAARC CCI from India said that by supporting Pakistan’s EU waiver package in WTO, India has expressed good gesture, which need to be reciprocated by Pakistan in meaningful manner. He appreciated the consideration of Pakistan for granting MFN status to India and hoped that it would soon materialize stating that it would help achieving the envisaged bilateral trade target of $ 6 billion within timeframe of three years.

Tariq Sayeed, immediate former President, SAARC CCI said that for deepening of bilateral economic relations, the agreement on high level was earnestly required. While appreciating the signing of MoU, he said that it was the high time that both the nations need to burry their political difference and exhibit greater political will to transform South Asia into a vibrant region by following the example of Germany and France in EU.

Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General, SAARC CCI said that the recent economic dialogue would pave the way for resolution of other issues, which have been negatively affecting the growth of the whole region. “Based of ITC trade statistics, the perceived potential of bilateral trade was $ 10 billion as compared with the current volume of $ 2.7 billion, which shows that both countries could avail only 28% of the existing potential.

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