ISLAMABAD, Dec 11 (APP):SAARC President Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Suraj Vaidya Monday underscored that Pakistan’s support for enhancement of trade, investment and business amongst the member countries of the SAARC region.
Talking to media persons here today prior to his departure for Nepal on the last leg of week-long visit to Pakistan, he also appreciated the positive approach that Pakistan has been following to strengthen regional cooperation under the SAARC process.
He said that it was firm commitment of SAARC Chamber to continue all out efforts for further strengthening the role of SAARC in the region, says a press release issued here.
He said accompanied by VP SAARC Pak chapter Iftikhar Ali Malik, he held fruitful and result-oriented meeting with Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, who assured of enhancing regional trade, Pakistan is playing proactive role in activating two most important regional organizations South Asian Association (SAARC) and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
He further said the minster told him that Pakistan is in process of consulting its stakeholders for preparing a separate shorter sensitive list for the least developed countries of SAARC.
He said that another meeting with Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission of Pakistan who was also kind enough to share his life-long expertise in the field of planning of new development projects in the region. He said SAARC chamber will take full benefits of the experiences of Planning Commission to launch new industrial joint ventures and development-oriented projects.
Suraj said that South Asia is mired in several crisis and conflicts at the moment due to various unresolved political and geographical factors and all these issues would be resolved effectively through strong regional connectivity and business to business contacts.He said law and order situation has been improved in Pakistan which is attracting foreign investment helpful enhancing trade activities in Pakistan that will lead regional trade cooperation among the member countries of South Asia.
Appreciating the role of CPEC, he said South Asia could drive the benefits from China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it is an energy deficient region which can use Central Asia’s huge gas and oil resources to help address its energy deficits.
Surej Vaidya further said the economic corridor will connect China to the world and will have a significant impact on the China, Pakistan and regional economies as its role in bringing prosperity to the region cannot be ignored. “Social economic development is critical to convert challenges into opportunities in South Asia,” adding that the South Asia needs to connect with CPEC to derive benefits of the project which is spanned largely yielding investment and economic opportunities for South Asian nations which have potential and interest to gain from CPEC.
VP SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik who was also present on the occasion in replay to a question, emphasized the need for expediting the process of trade liberalization in South Asian region. He said that cooperation in member states will help in promotion of trade and improving quality of life of our people who accounted for 1/5th of the world’s population. He emphasized that intra regional trade is far below its potential.
Pakistan is looking at widening the ambit “so that we make these opportunities in our region a reality and improve the level of prosperity and economic development in this region”, he said.
There are other areas too that the SAARC countries should work on, such as formulating standards and working with different departments and states to improve ecosystem to boost services trade.
Malik urged the governments of SAARC member countries to adopt policies helpful to push export sector in regional trade agreements, while looking at issues of competitiveness across sectors in the form of reforms and liberalisation and focusing on the trade policy.