FAISALABAD: Pakistan and Nepal should focus on the promotion of bilateral business relations, ensuring continued partnership for progress, said Ambassador of Nepal Bharat Raj Paudyal, while talking to textile exporters of Faisalabad on Monday.
The improvement in regional trade will trigger the pace of development in the whole Saarc region, the ambassador added.
Paudyal said Nepal greatly valued its relations with Pakistan, which were based on mutual respect, trust and shared perceptions on regional and international issues.
He recognised the vibrant role of textile exporters in the economic progress of the country. Nepal and Pakistan are important economies of South Asia but the pace of economic growth in South Asia is slow, and intra-regional trade in the Saarc bloc is only 5% compared with 25% in ASEAN and 65% in the European Union, the ambassador noted.
Exchange of sector-specific trade delegations, single country exhibitions, dissemination of economic data and a proactive involvement of trade associations can do miracles as far as two-way business is concerned, he added.
Paudyal said that Nepalese businessmen felt quite comfortable while dealing with their Pakistani counterparts. He said that the fast changing global scenario called for innovative economic strategies, therefore the businessmen in the two countries should join hands for a better tomorrow.
Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association chairman, said that the current size of trade between Nepal and Pakistan is less than a quarter of its potential. Due to trading restrictions and tariff measures, most of the indirect and unaccounted for trade is routed through the Gulf countries. Formal arrangements of greater direct trade will prove to be useful as it would result in lesser freight and shorter lead time, he suggested.
He suggested frequent exchange of trade delegations, interactions and establishment of display centres in both countries which would help strengthen the trade ties. With the GSP Plus status, there can be increased trade for semi-finished products to Pakistan. Pakistan is one of the highest tea consuming countries in the world and Nepal is one of the finest tea and coffee producers that can create opportunity for bilateral trade between the two countries, Mahmood said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.
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