SAARC Chamber lays stress on forging closer ties with China

Permenant desk establish to facilitate investors for intra-SAARC trade

APP December 03, 2017
Representational image of a handshake. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Business leaders from South Asian countries vehemently urged on Saturday for deeper economic cooperation with China saying that this collaboration will usher in a new era of progress, prosperity, development, economic growth and welfare of the people of the region.

Talking to high level trader delegation from SAARC countries, SAARC Chamber Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik said that China-South Asia economic cooperation would change the global economic order to add prosperity in the region, according to a press release issued here.

He 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. Highlighting the role of China in building the South Asian economy, he said China is the world’s second largest economy and a global power.

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“China has huge foreign reserves and is massively investing in infrastructure in different parts of the world. The cash-strapped SAARC is in dire need of foreign investments to tap into its natural resources. China’s entry will undoubtedly bring dramatic economic changes to the region and the lives of its people,” he added.

He said since the creation of the SAARC Chamber in 2006, the bilateral trade between China and the South Asian countries increased with a tremendous growth rate of 15% annually. He said that South Asia and Southeast Asia have become new driving engines for global economic growth in the region. “Countries within this region are economically complementary and regional cooperation has great potential.”

Malik said Pakistan attaches great importance to its economic and trade relationship with China. He hoped that the China-South Asia Business Forum will become an effective platform for the enhancement of cooperation with China, promotion of regional integration and realisation of regional prosperity.

He further said on a special directive of SAARC Chamber President Suraj Vaidya, a permanent desk has been established under the supervision of SAARC Chamber Secretary General Hina Saeed to facilitate all interested investors and businessmen from the member countries for the promotion of trade in the region while SAARC Chamber Deputy Secretary General Zulfiqar Ali Butt will be available to all of them round the clock.

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On this occasion, he suggested various ways to further promoting cooperation between Chinese commercial industry and its counterpart in South Asia, including the enhancement of trade and economic information sharing, organisation or more companies to invest in South Asia, increasing imports from South Asia and promotion of a good business environment.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2017.

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