KARACHI: For the first time in Karachi, an apex public sector trade promotion body of India will organise a three-day exhibition of Indian products in December in the latest in a series of efforts to bolster trade between the neighbouring countries.
“Over 100 Indian business delegates are expected to visit Karachi for the exhibition,” Sunil Agnihotri, Joint Deputy Director General of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) – the organisers – said while talking to The Express Tribune at the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) office here on Tuesday.
Agnihotri and FIEO Deputy Director Prashant Seth were in Karachi to oversee pre-event preparations and also visited the venue of the exhibition, the Karachi Expo Centre. FIEO has been established by the Indian Ministry of Commerce.
Agnihotri expressed the hope that the event, which will be held from December 21-23, would help promote bilateral trade between India and Pakistan and take the trade volume to $6 billion from present $2.7 billion in the next three years.
He said besides the textile sector, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, chemical, leather, herbal medicine and gems and jewellery – the main attraction – companies would participate in the fair.
Such exhibitions and regular exchange of business visits at frequent intervals would boost trade in coming years, he stressed.
The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry – the co-organisers – and the TDAP are extending support to the expo. This will be the first exhibition of its kind in Karachi where a large number of Indian companies will display their products for sale. The FIEO team is meeting the authorities concerned in Pakistan to make the show a success.
The exhibition is part of an understanding between the governments of Pakistan and India to encourage business and trade.
An exhibition of this kind was organised in Lahore in February this year to coincide with the three-day trip of Indian Commerce, Industry and Textile Minister Anand Sharma to Pakistan.
However, the Pakistani business community believes that the biggest reason for its trade gap with India is the non-tariff barriers. Indian diplomats repeatedly assure Pakistan that once the two sides start doing liberal trade, Pakistan’s exports to India will increase sharply with the decline in smuggling and indirect trade through the UAE and Singapore.
To address the concerns of businessmen, India and Pakistan have recently signed three agreements on customs cooperation, mutual recognition of quality certification and grievance-addressing mechanism.
Pakistan is also taking keen interest in exhibiting its products in India. Following extraordinary response from the Indian customers and business community in an exhibition this year, the TDAP is planning to organise another fair in India in April next year.
“The response of Pakistani businessmen can be gauged from the fact that they are trying to book space as soon as possible for the exhibition in India,” a TDAP official told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2012.
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