KARACHI: Pakistan wants to join the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) and Indonesia should support it in its endeavour, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Mian Abrar Ahmad said in a statement on Monday.
Asean was established on August 8, 1967, to accelerate economic growth and social progress among regional countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia.
In a meeting with the Indonesian Consul General Rossalis Rusman Adenan at KCCI, Ahmad said that the recent signing of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Indonesia will open a new chapter of economic and commercial cooperation between the two nations. “KCCI believes that the PTA will boost bilateral trade ties and lead to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA),” he said.
Pakistan and Indonesia signed the PTA on February 4, 2012, whereby Indonesia agreed to offer preferential market access to Pakistan on 216 tariff lines at a preferential rate. Similarly, Pakistan has offered 287 tariff lines under the PTA.
As a result of the PTA, Pakistan-Indonesia bilateral trade can increase up to $2 billion in coming years from the current level of $800 million annually, he said. “Indonesia will be able to increase its export of crude palm oil to Pakistan; whereas, Pakistan can export its value-added textile goods, carpets, fabrics, leather, chemicals, surgical goods etc,” he added.
He called for Pakistani-Indonesian joint ventures in crude palm oil and value-added agricultural products. He also stressed upon the need for building trade links with the Economic Cooperation Organisation, which is an intergovernmental organisation involving seven Asian and three Eurasian nations, Central Asian Republics and member-countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
The Indonesia and Pakistan PTA will be enforced by July 2012. The Indonesian commerce minister is also due in Pakistan next month to meet his counterpart.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.