Seminar on “How to Operationalize Existing Transit Trade/Transport Agreements” held

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Commerce organized a seminar on “How to Operationalize Existing Transit Trade/Transport Agreements” here on Thursday. The objective of this seminar is to disseminate information on regional trade and economic connectivity and to generate new idea for enabling Pakistan to capitalize upon the opportunities emanating from improved connectivity. The seminar consisted of speeches and discussions of experts from Ministry of Commerce, Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and National Trade & Transport Facilitation Committee and other officials form public and private sector.

While chairing the seminar, the keynote speaker Secretary Commerce Zafar Mahmood addressed that Pakistan has signed a number of transit trade/transport agreements with the countries of the region, but most of these agreements are facing operational issues. Similarly various international conventions are held up at various stages of ratification and accession. It is in this backdrop ministry of commerce decided to organize this seminar.

He said that it is the endeavour of Ministry of Commerce to generate environment which can facilitate increase economic growth through our integration with regional markets and expansion of trade. This will provide increased opportunities and support for traders and logistic industry.

The secretary said that Pakistan is a member of various regional economic cooperation organizations. However, unfortunately the volume of interregional trade is miniscule as compare to the overall international trade of these countries. As such, we have not able to exploit the potential of regional trade. It is time that we decide to make ‘regional integration’ a tool for growth and economic development because regional connectivity is the prerequisite for achieving such a goal.

He highlighted that ministry of commerce believes in public private consultation and cooperation in all matters of national importance. Therefore we decided to arrange Seminars to get inputs from experts on the subject in public and private sector, in exploring the potential for expanding regional trade and way forward for enhancing interregional connectivity.

Ministry of Commerce intends to arrange such seminars at Provincial Capitals as well. Ministry has a plan to organize and International Seminar on trade facilitation and regional trade, in October 2012, in which experts from the countries of the region will be invited.

He said that these Seminars would help us to formulate clear steps and adopt concrete measures to expand regional trade leading to the general well being of the people of these countries.

The seminar also highlighted about the importance of Pakistan’s opportunities, being a member of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation CAREC, to access the markets of Central Asia and other countries besides developing its energy, trade and transportation systems. CAREC has tremendous potential to provide transport and trade linkages with the burgeoning economies in the region. Pakistan is actively participating in CAREC Programmes to avail the opportunity of economic integration with CAREC Countries, pointed in the seminar.

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