SAARC looks to establish industrial park

Association president says regional trade must be promoted

Our Correspondent April 16, 2016

ISLAMABAD: There is huge potential in South Asia to boost intra-regional trade and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) is all set to establish an Industrial Park to promote investment and trade among regional countries, said Saarc’s newly-elected President Suraj Vaidya.

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Addressing the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he said the proposal had already been discussed with the Afghanistan president and his team along with Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir and other relevant high government officials. Land for the park would be obtained and other Saarc members would also be consulted for the materialisation of the plan, he added.

“This industrial park would be an export-oriented venture to give boost to investment and trade among Saarc member countries,” Vaidya said.

“The key focus would be on investment because despite the establishment of Saarc 30 years ago, the region still remains the least integrated. The member Saarc countries will have to decide whether they want to lead or be led by others,” he said, adding that it was time for Saarc countries to take lead in economic integration and growth.

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Furthermore, he assured that the Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) would work with member countries for the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to improve regional trade.  Vaidya was of the view that the strength of South Asia rested in its young population and Saarc CCI was working to create a forum named ‘Angel Investors South Asia’ (AISA) for the entrepreneurial-minded in the region. “The Saarc CCI would leverage its network resources to identify potential innovative entrepreneurs in the region and AISA would provide capital to them in order to turn their business ideas into successful commercial ventures,” he said.

“The plan is ideally to create 200 commercial ventures annually.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2016.

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