The FCCI president has stressed a need for promoting exports by concentrating regional trade, and said that 60 percent of the global trade is made among the regional  blocks. Suhail Bin Rashid appreciated the government’s announcement to allow tariff concessions on the import of 340 items from SAARC member countries with effect from January 1, 2014. He said that it would help increase trade volume among the intra-SAARC countries.

He noted that massive changes had occurred in the international trade and 60 percent trade was among regional blocks. Export destinations of Pakistani products have greatly suffered due to consistent recession in the EU and the US markets so Pakistan should now concentrate regional trade, he emphasised. He added that instead of focusing traditional markets, Pakistan should enhance its exports to China, Middle East, Turkey and India where Pakistan with its geographical location can prove to be regional and intra-regional trade hub.

He emphasised a need for enhancing regional trade particularly for the textile products for which there exists great potential in the regional markets. He said that despite geographical proximity, regional trade between South Asian countries was US$ 16 billion in 2010 which is only 5 percent of total trade of SAARC countries compared to NAFTA 60 percent trade among their member countries, European Union 53 percent and ASEAN 26 percent.

However, South Asia has 2.5% contribution to the world GDP, 22pc of the world population and 3.6% in the world area, he said and added that in the changing scenario, Pakistan should enhance its exports with Iran, Central Asian States, Gulf countries, Russia, Turkey and China.

He urged the government to enhance exports by way of increased number of trade delegations to the emerging and regional economies besides further concentrating trade diplomacy and providing congenial and business-friendly environments in the country.