Naveed Qamar stresses on enhanced trade cooperation among SCO states

Qamar ensures level playing field for export-oriented sectors, including textiles
Qamar ensures level playing field for export-oriented sectors, including textiles

ISLAMABAD, Aug 17 (APP):Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar has stressed on the need to enhance cooperation among the member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in various fields, including regional trade, economy, investment, and science and technology.

Trough the inter-regional relations, the SCO had gained significant development, however, their full potentials had not yet been exploited, he said addressing a two-day SCO Economic Forum in Tashkent, according to a message received here on Wednesday.

The minister said regional trade, economy, investment, science and technology, cultural-humanitarian and other opportunities could significantly strengthen the foundation of cooperation among the SCO member states.

“I am delighted to say that Pakistan, ever since its accession as full member, has desired to play a pro-active role towards promotion of cooperation in political, security, economic, cultural, and legal areas,” he added.

Pakistan, he said, shares with the SCO and its members, deep rooted historical and cultural links, and strong economic and strategic complementarities.

“We are fully committed to promoting the Shanghai Spirit which lays emphasis on equality, trust, coexistence, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for shared development,” Naveed Qamar added.

Pakistan, the minister said, attached great importance to the SCO as “it allows us to underscore our interest in regional peace, stability and development and support for regional cooperation”.

It would not only provide a platform to forge closer ties with China and Russia; the two key players in the region, but also “allow us to explore greater economic linkages and cooperation with Central Asian countries in the areas of energy and transport, and would help us in promoting Pakistan as a regional trade corridor,” he maintained.

The minister said said as per a report of the International Monetary Fund, in 2021 the average GDP (gross domestic product) growth of the SCO member states was about 5.3%. Trade volume (exports) of Pakistan with SCO states reached $3.44 billion with an increase of 30.6% during the FY 2021-22.

He said,”We are striving to move away from a consumptive economy towards an investment and export-driven economy.

“We intend to achieve this through free trade and transit agreements, regional connectivity, the ‘Make in Pakistan’ initiatives, rationalization of tariffs, and an industrial policy framework, which will put Pakistan on the path of industrialization.”

Naveed Qamar said Pakistan was working to gain greater market access for its exports, and diversify markets and the export basket along with establishing linkages for industrial innovation and production.

It could only be achieved through greater openness of the economy, he added.

He recalled that Pakistan proposed at Qingdao that the establishment of Pakistan-SCO Trade, Transit and Energy Corridor would offer the SCO member states the use of its road and rail network, and access to international sea lines of communication for trade, transit and commercial logistics through Karachi and Gwadar.

It would also realize the cherished aspiration of land and maritime connectivity among the Middle East, Central Asia, China and South Asia, he added.

For regional connectivity, the minister said, Pakistan had started negotiations with the SCO states to tap the transit potential of the region for trade and regional connectivity, and actively pursuing to materialize the long term arrangement.

Naveed Qamar said, “Through this forum we also expect that this forum would create a dialogue platform to discuss problems and prospects for mutually beneficial trade-economic, investment and cultural- humanitarian cooperation among SCO member states and operate based on the principles of openness.”

Pakistan, he said, was looking forward to the meetings of business council, exhibitions fairs, business forums and other events of the interested parties under the SCO to enhance further cooperation among the member states.

He said Pakistan fully shared the SCO’s strong support for multilateralism, free and transparent trade according to the WTO (World Trade Organization) rules and enhanced economic cooperation among its member states.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment to the ‘One-China’ Policy, and firm support to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The minister said,”We know that the world is already reeling through a critical security situation due to the Ukraine conflict, with destabilizing implications for international food and energy security” and it could not afford another crisis that had negative consequences for global peace, security and economy.

Pakistan, he said, “strongly believes that inter-state relations should be based on mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, and peaceful resolution of issues by upholding of principles of United Nations Charter, international law and bilateral agreements”.