Speakers in seminar urge for Pak-East Asia economic integration

Speaker in seminar urges for Pak-East Asia economic integration

ISLAMABAD, Jul 27 (APP): Diplomats, economists and intellectuals on Wednesday agreed that South Korea can play a significant role to develop economic and trade relations between Pakistan and East Asian countries.

Intellectuals emphasized on restoring multilateral sectors and historical links for promoting economic and trade relations between Pakistan and East Asian countries including Korea.

The Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, organized a policy dialogue on “Comprehensive Economic Partnership: East Asia and Pakistan.”

The China-Pakistan Study Centre (CPSC) and Centre for Strategic Perspective (CSP) were organizers of the policy dialogue.

The distinguished speakers of the dialogue were included, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, DG ISSI; Suh SangPyo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan; Dr. Neelum Nigar, Director CSP; Muhammad Naseer,

DG Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP); Kim Sung Jae, DG (Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency) KOTRA; Chang Yong Il, Managing director of Samsung Pakistan; Zhonglei Mou, Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Nishat Jamil Ahmad Qureshi, DG, Board of Investment, Pakistan; Ms. Huma Fakhar,

CEO and Founder of MAP Services Group; Muhammad Zubair, Joint Secretary (Emigration), Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development; Aftab ur Rehman Tarrar, Managing Director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation; and Dr. Nadeem Omar Tarar, Gandhara Chair in Cultural Studies, Wah University.

On the occasion, the speakers discussed various fields including mutual trade, investment, religious tourism, relocation of modern industry, development of mutual technology, people to people contact and ancient Buddhist religious heritage for the promotion of economic and trade relations between Pakistan and East Asian countries.

In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Suh SangPyo explained the idea of the comprehensive economic partnership between Pakistan and East Asia.
He said that Pakistan and East Asia share promising economic ties.

The Ambassador elucidated that East Asia accounts for one-fourth of Pakistan trade and there will be many opportunities for growing together once the partnership is reached an official agreement.

He spoke at length about the economic opportunities and challenges East Asian countries, particularly South Korea, face while interacting with Pakistan. In the end, he extended his gratitude to ISSI for putting its efforts into organizing the event.

Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director of CPSC, moderated the event and introduced the theme of the dialogue and highlighted the prospects of Pakistan-East Asia comprehensive economic partnership.

He remarked that today’s dialogue analyses Pakistan’s interest in East Asia and ASEAN through the prism of geo-economics and economic security in line with the policy direction of the National Security Policy (NSP) of Pakistan.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry gave a brief overview of Pakistan’s relations with the East Asian countries and commended the economic growth of the Asian tigers. Ambassador Chaudhary further said that Pakistan has strong ties with the East Asian countries and, especially, with the Republic of Korea, the cultural ties are strong and overall complement the bilateral ties.

The keynote speaker, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan Ms. Mumtaz Zahra Baloch discussed the challenges that the world is facing in the post-covid era.

She expresses her apprehensions on the prevailing competition between US and China which, in her view, was affecting international relations in many ways.

She was also skeptical of economic growth while the world was going through a huge economic crisis in the wake of the popular protectionist trends and de-globalization narratives.

In this milieu, the present policy dialogue is highly encouraging, she commented. She expressed her optimism about the outcomes that the policy dialogue would have in the short- and long-term.

She assured the support of the government and put her faith in the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Embassy of the Republic of Pakistan for enahcing the bilateral ties.

In the first session on trade, , Director CSP Dr. Neelum Nigar explained how Pakistan’s “East Asia Vision” fits well into the comprehensive economic framework that was being discussed.

She highlighted major exports and imports of Pakistan from East Asian countries. She provided an in-depth analysis of the economic interactions of Pakistan with South Korea.

On the prospects of FTA between both the countries, Dr. Nigar highlighted some key policy options for Pakistan.

DG (Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency) KOTRA Mr Kim Sung Jae described the South Korean economic engagements in Pakistan.

He highlighted that Seoul has been promoting local businesses in Pakistan and trying to gain mutual benefits for both nations.  

In the second session on Investment, Managing director of Samsung Pakistan Mr. Chang Yong Il said that the Government of Pakistan needs to formulate long term plans through feasibility studies to attract investors. He also said that Pakistan is a potential investment market for Korean businesses.

DG, Board of Investment, Pakistan,Mr. Jamil Ahmad Qureshi said that BOI is working hard to address the challenges being faced by foreign investors in Pakistan.
He stressed on the need for investment in export-oriented industries of Pakistan and for that  SEZs have been notified by the government and the FDI coming into them have been given protection through federal legislation.

Mr. Aftab ur Rehman Tarrar stressed on the importance of tourism to promote P2P exchanges, as Pakistan is a country diverse in tourist attractions.
Pakistan can offer both heritage and adventure tourism to Koreans but focus on the marketing side is required.

Similarly, Dr. Nadeem Omar Tarar emphasised that Pak-Korea cultural relations are deep rooted stemming out of Gandhara Civilisation which is the birthplace of Buddhism. People to People exchange is hollow if it is not grounded in activities which the Government of Pakistan can offer by celebrating Buddhist festivals.

Along with infrastructure information/services products also need to be worked on to enhance relations between the two countries.