Traders of Pakistan and India have spoken with one voice on the need for trust-building measures between private sectors of the two countries in order to give a boost to bilateral trade.
This was stated by Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik, who is also a senior member of the Pakistan-India Joint Business Forum (PIJBF).
Talking to the media here on Monday, on his return from New Delhi after a weeklong visit, Malik said result-oriented meetings were held with Indian counterparts to come up with viable strategies and mechanisms to promote trade between the two neighbours.
During marathon meetings, both sides agreed that there was a dire need to remove apprehensions and doubts in the minds of importers, exporters and traders of both countries on a priority basis.
Malik underlined the need for addressing concerns relating to market access, tariff and non-tariff barriers. “It was agreed in principle that the traders must carry out visits in order to pave the way for a smooth flow of commerce after addressing their apprehensions.”
PIJBF Co-chairman Sunil Kanat Munjal Mattel assured Chairman Syed Yawar Ali that India would extend support and training facilities to improve Pakistan’s human resource to help them meet international export standards.
Malik, who led the Saarc CCI Pakistan delegation to India, also held important meetings with top trade leaders of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to discuss the modalities of bilateral trade.
Malik said he reiterated that Pakistan wanted a level playing field for strengthening trade ties with India.
According to him, top leadership of the CII, FICCI, Saarc CCI and PIJBF have, in principle, agreed to support Pakistan in health, agriculture, engineering and automobile sectors.
Additionally, they have agreed to help establish modern vocational training centres in important industrial cities to produce best-quality skilled manpower – a key to successful exports in line with global marketing.
He said the CII, FICCI, Saarc CCI and PIJBF would hold joint seminars and workshops in Pakistan in collaboration with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry to help develop modern infrastructure and boost trade ties for strengthening the national economy.
Malik also pointed out that leaders from both sides were emphasising the importance of liberalising the visa regime in an effort to promote business linkage.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2014.