ISLAMABAD - The SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an apex body of chambers in the region, Friday called upon Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to play its key role in promoting pak-Indo bilateral trade between the two nuclear powers for prosperity in the region.
According to a message received here from New Delhi, it was stated by SCCI President, Ismail Asif from Maldives while addressing the concluding marathon session of SCCI-CII meeting. The leader of pakistan delegation Iftikhar Ali Malik was also present. He said that CII is one of the most strong business trade group which enjoys a great trust of the people in business community as well as in government corridors.
He said all out efforts would be made to accelerate the process of economic and social development in South Asian countries.
SCCI Chief pointed out that the intra-regional trade figures for South Asian are disappointing as trade in the region constitutes only 1.4 per cent of the total world imports and 1.2 per cent of exports, whereas merchandise trade is only 27.9 per cent of GDP,the lowest in the world.
Ismail Asif said World Development Indicators have revealed South Asia houses 1.4 billion world’s population thus representing a large workforce, tremendous business and investment opportunities. Although South Asia has significantly reduced import tariffs,the cost of trading across its borders is one of the highest in the world. A number of non-tariff barriers have been identified which hamper trade and increase cost.
He said that SCCI, an apex organisation of SAARC and a representative of the private sector has worked to create awareness about regional integration through various activities in the region and beyond. Earlier, Iftikhar Ali Malik said SCCI remained committed to playing a pivotal role in deepening and widening economic and regional co-operation under SAARC. SCCI has also supported the government-industry partnership and remained engaged in dialogue with governments of the SAARC region.
He further stated that SCCI was established in 1985 with a main agenda to promote regional and economic co-operation in South Asia, however,political tensions and development constraints that the region has faced over the years played a decelerating role in economic integration of South Asia.
He said SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement) must also be made more effective to revive economic co-operation for free trade in the region.