ISLAMABAD, Jan 16 (APP):Minister for Finance, Asad Umar on Wednesday said that Pakistan wanted to lift trade relations with  all its neighbors and regional countries including Iran, India, and Turkey.

Addressing the 11th annual report, launched by Burky Institute of Public Policy here, the minister said that Iran was an important neighbor of Pakistan in the West and the world should stop creating  impediments in trading between the two countries.

“Whenever the World Bank and other international bodies come to me, they always say that intra  regional trade is extremely important for boosting economic growth, and also they advise to resume  good trade ties with India, but strangely nobody ask me about another important neighbor in the West  which is Iran,” he added.

“Impediments have been created for trading between Pakistan and Iran and I am mixed up that how  that criteria fix in the economic theory that trade with neighbor in East is good whereas trade with  neighbors in West is not good.

” He hoped that hypocrisy of the global community will also reduce
with the time.

He said the Prime Minister had already taken the initiative to start developing trade relationships  with India and hopefully the new leadership of India after the general election, would give positive
response to the PM’s move.

He said during his visit to Turkey along with Prime Minister last week, he discussed with Vice  President of the country and gave the idea that the trade bonds between the two countries should  be enhanced. “Our person-to-person and government-to-government bonds are amazing but trade
relations does not reflect the this kind of relationship,” he added.

He said that in order to transform relationship into a genuine economic ties, a medium term  strategic economic framework was proposed during that meeting.

In this regard, he said the first meeting was going to be held here today and hopefully in April,  the two countries would sign that framework.

He said that the Pakistani government acknowledged that China, and Saudi Arabia had helped  Pakistan in difficult time, but what he said that it was the last time that Pakistan reached out to its  friendly countries for help.

With respect to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said the CPEC was a bilateral  partnership, but with the consent of both the countries, it had been decided that the third countries  would also be invited to invest in some of its projects because the idea was that the connectivity  should not just remain confined to North-South but also to expand in the Western world.

He said the government wanted to transform the infrastrucural phase of CPEC to a genuine  economic corridor. “If we create the trade, knowledge, and industrial linkages, then we would be  able to make CPEC a genuine economic corridor.”

In the second phase of CPEC, the private sector would have be encouraged to take the driving  seat by largely participating in the mega project.

He said the CPEC was going to be the center of gravity of the global economy in the 21th century  and Pakistan would not just be a beneficiary at this regional growth but would be a contributor to it.