Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Shaban Khalid has said that Pakistan-US strategic dialogue must focus on bilateral trade and getting access to their market to attract investment.
Talking to APP, Khalid said, “Pakistan could exploit its geo-strategic position by providing trade routes for regional and global trade.”
He said relations with world economic powers should be maintained on the basis of mutual respect and equality to achieve national economic goals. Khalid urged the government to consult the business community to devise a joint strategy to address the economic challenges of the country.
Khalid said that trade and economic relations with Afghanistan would also promote the country’s access to the energy-rich Central Asian States to resolve the country’s energy issues. Long-term energy policy is needed to resolve the energy crisis for sustainable trade and economic growth, he said, adding that the government must focus on alternate energy sources like hydel, coal, solar and agro to shift from oil.
He urged the government to broaden the tax net and make reforms in the taxation system to maintain working terms with the business community and achieve sustainable economic growth and development.
The ICCI chief urged the government to use economic diplomacy to gain access to international markets for economic growth. He pushed for regional economic integration and cordial relations with all regional countries to strengthen mutual trade and investment in the region.
Answering a question, Khalid said that Pakistan has an important geo-strategic location, and Pak-China economic and trade ties were essential to enrich economic activity in Pakistan. He said that the government needed to develop Gwadar Port on a priority basis as it would prove to be a catalyst for trade with China and Central Asian States. He also appreciated the agreement with China on rail, road links and the trade corridor.
Khalid said that it was encouraging that the European Union (EU) granted Pakistan the Generalized System for Preference (GSP) Plus status, which will help Pakistan’s country’s export to EU markets. He hailed the government’s accountability and transparency mechanism in affairs and efforts to make business-friendly policies.
Khalid also lauded the Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loan Scheme and advised for efforts to ensure maximum recovery. He urged the government to maintain law and order in the country to attract foreign and local investment.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2014.