Despite slow-down and bleak forecasts for international trade in near future SAARC countries can benefit by enhancing intra-region trade: Minister
Islamabad, April 14, 2016 (PPI-OT):Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan has said that despite a slow-down and bleak forecasts for the international trade in the near future SAARC countries can benefit by enhancing intra-region trade. He said that non-tariff barriers in the intra-region trade must be brought down to pursue greater economic integration in the region. The Minister was talking to the representatives of the SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) lead by its President Mr. Suraj Vaidya.
Mr. Dastagir said that other regional trading blocs like European Union, Mercosur, ASEAN etc are deeply integrated and enjoy high percentage of trade within region as compared to SAARC. He was of the view that trade enhancement in the region requires bolder initiatives from all the partners and private business sector has to be more vocal convey their message of openness in trade across.
The Minister said that Pakistan implemented numerous trade facilitation measures to support Afghan transit trade which has resulted in the increase in Afghan Transit trade from Pakistan in terms of the containers traded. Similarly, Pakistan held an understanding with Sri Lanka to further expand the bilateral Free Trade Agreement which will boost the bilateral trade, he said.
The representatives of the SAARC Chambers called on the Minister along with the Chief Executive Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Chairman Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Rauf Alam and other members of business community.
Talking at the occasion, Mr. Vaidya said that the SAARC Chambers has pinned its hopes of progress in economic integration on the upcoming SAARC Summit to be held in Pakistan later this year. He appreciated the Government of Pakistan’s continuous and unending endeavours towards furthering economic integration in the region.
He said that the world is witness to the fact that economic cooperation and foreign trade has taken precedence over all other issues. He apprised the Minister that SAARC CCI is holding a round of meetings with the Governments in SAARC to convince then to improve trade facilitation and trade liberalization in the region.
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