SAARC can widen economic, regional co-operation

LAHORE: SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) can play a pivotal role in deepening and widening economic and regional co-operation with special focus on stamping out the ever increasing menace of terror in the region.

Vice President SCCI, Pakistan chapter and veteran trade leader Iftikhar Ali Malik commenting on recent SAARC summit told APP here Monday that SCCI has always fully supported the government-industry partnership and remained engaged in dialogue with governments of the SAARC region.

He said that successful Addu Declaration in Maldives and one on result oriented interaction of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani with his Indian counterpart Dr.Manmohan Singh will be a one good step towards normalization of relations between the two nuclear states.

He said that liberalization of trade regime would help SAARC to achieve it much ought after objective of regional integration and development.

He said that if all SAARC member countries pool and harness their indigenous resources, it will definitely help improve socio economic conditions and welfare of their respective people.

The intra-regional trade figures for South Asian are disappointing as trade in the region constitutes only 1.4 per cent of the total world imports and 1.2 per cent of exports, whereas merchandise trade is only 27.9 percent of GDP, the lowest in the world.

He stated that SCCI was established in 1985 with a main agenda to promote regional and economic co-operation in South

Asia, however political tensions and development constraints that the region has faced over the years played a decelerating role in economic integration of South Asia.

Iftikhar said that World Development Indicators have revealed South Asia houses 1.4 billion world’s population thus representing a large workforce, tremendous business and investment opportunities.

Although South Asia has significantly reduced import tariffs, the cost of trading across its borders is one of the highest in the world. A number of non-tariff barriers have been identified which hamper trade and increase cost.

He said that SCCI, an apex organisation of SAARC and a representative of the private sector has worked to create awareness about regional integration through various activities in the region and beyond.

He said SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement) must also be made more effective to revive economic co-operation for free trade in the region.

He said all out efforts will be made that SAFTA to help build confidence among the business communities of Pakistan and India.

Iftikhar Ali Malik concluded that all out efforts would be made to accelerate the process of economic and social development in South Asian countries.

Leave a Reply