LAHORE - The countries of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) have huge potential to emerge as a center of trade and commerce, achieve higher levels of economic growth, and reduce poverty.

This was stated by Engineer Sohail Lashari during a meeting with a two-member Asian Development Bank Fact-Finding Mission, who called on him and discussed in detail the trade and transport constraints in Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries.

The ADB Mission comprising Adrian Sammons and Aamer Ali had over an hour meeting to identify impediments to trade flows between Pakistan and other CAREC countries. LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar and Chairman LCCI Committee on Logistics Muhammad Anwar were also present in the meeting.  

The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation, or CAREC, Program is a partnership of 10 countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), supported by 6 multilateral institutions, working together to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated growth and poverty reduction.

LCCI President said that Central Asian states and Afghanistan are natural trading partners of Pakistan due to its geographic and strategic location therefore, the government should ensure Pakistani entrepreneurs penetration to these markets.

The LCCI President invited that attention of the ADB Mission towards the absence of banking channels in the Central Asian Estates.  He said that since the liquidity transfer was central to all types of business activities therefore the trade among these countries could not flourish unless and until a true banking mechanism is developed.

Adrian Sammons informed the LCCI President that the ADB Report on transport constraints in Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries would be presented to the government by the end of May 2014.

He said that ongoing globalization has imposed challenges on the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries because of current transport and trade constraints. Thus, a transport facilitation strategy was critical to sustain economic prosperity in this region.

He said that the report being prepared by the Asian Development Bank would be highlighting all the constraints coming in the way of trade facilitation as the process of consultation initiated by the Bank would help bring to the limelight all the challenges.