The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is a huge market for Pakistan and the business community should focus on promoting trade with it to achieve productive outcomes, said Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Adam Mulawarman Tugio.
During his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Friday, the envoy highlighted that trade between China and Asean member states stood at around $600 billion.
“On the other hand, bilateral trade between Pakistan and Asean amounts to a mere $6 billion,” he lamented.
He stated that Pakistan’s close cooperation with Indonesia could provide Islamabad easy access to the untapped Asean economies.
“Pakistan and Indonesia have many similarities, which should be harnessed to gain mutual economic benefits,” the envoy said.
He urged the two countries to promote bilateral trade and cooperation in areas where they had comparative advantages.
“Information technology, e-commerce and tourism are promising areas for bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” he noted.
The envoy underlined the need for encouraging joint ventures between private sectors of both countries and holding trade fairs on a reciprocal basis.
The envoy informed meeting participants that due to Covid-19 Indonesia was organising a virtual expo and encouraged the business community to take part in the fair for creating business linkages.
“Pakistani universities should come up with study papers on the economic potential of Asean member countries to educate students and the business community, which will be helpful in improving trade,” he suggested.
On the occasion, ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that Indonesia and Pakistan, with a combined population of almost half a billion, were huge markets with immense potential for trade, investment and economic cooperation.
Trade volume between the two countries was just over $2.5 billion, which was far below the actual potential, he lamented.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2021.
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