Private sector should explore new trade avenues, business opportunities for development of country: Ahsan Iqbal

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 10 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday urged the private sector to come forward and play its role for development of the country by exploring new trade avenues and business opportunities.

Addressing the participants of Pakistan, Afghanistan, CARs Trade Summit organized by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) here, he asked them to identify existing trade issues, bottle necks through discussion enabling the government to remove these hurdles to further enhance trade and business with Central Asian Republics and Afghanistan.

He said, the regional cooperation was important pillar of economic development, adding, only those countries earned respect in the present world which had strong economies.

Ahsan Iqbal said, now Pakistan was on path of economic development and prosperity and Pakistan had been placed at better position because of better economic policies and reforms agenda.

He informed the audience that Pakistan would continue its campaign against extremism and terrorism and it would not allow anyone to use its soil against other countries.

The Minister said, the government was giving full attention towards to improve its economy, adding, in the past, Pakistan was not succeeded to bolster its economic ties with Central Asian countries because of political instability.

He said, Pakistan intended to enhance its trade activities up to Central Asia via neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Minister expressed the confidence that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and CAREC would further enhance regional cooperation and trade activities.

He said, Pakistan could prove an economic hub for China, Afghanistan and Central Asia, Pakistan had started Turkmanistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and CASA-1000 electricity import project to meet energy requirements in the country.

After resolution of infrastructure issues like road and rail connectivity, the trade and business activities would get further boost.

He also expressed a need to initiate more steps in the administrative sector in an effort to discourage bureaucratic hurdles.

Ahsan said, trade finance facility did not exist between Pakistan and CARs as no branch of Pakistani bank had so far been opened there.

Appreciating the efforts of President, RCCI for organizing the Summit, he said, collaboration between business institutions would help further enhance trade and business cooperation between Pakistan and CARs.

Speaking on the occasion, President, RCCI, Mian Humayun Parvez said, the purpose of this summit was to explore the new trade avenues and to discuss trade aspects, finding the means of ease of doing business between Pakistan, Afghanistan , and Central Asia.

He said, the conference will help the business community to identify existing trade issues, bottle necks and barriers through the discussion over the topics of mutual interest and to facilitate bilateral trade among the region.

He said, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian states could work together to improve the bilateral trade relations in the areas of energy cooperation, infrastructure and development of the region.

There were opportunities of collaboration in scientific and technical fields, banking, information technology, pharmaceutical, gem and jewelry and tourism.

The representatives from Afghanistan and CARs besides a large number of businessmen and traders attended the daylong summit.