LAHORE -  Geopolitical changes and formation of new trade and economic alliances around the globe have underlined the need for new strategic economic foreign policy of Pakistan.

This was upshot of the speeches delivered at a seminar on “Defining Guidelines for New Strategic Economic Policy of Pakistan vis-à-vis China-Iran-Russia-Turkey”, joint organised by the LCCI and Golden Ring Economic Forum (GREF) at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Abdul Basit, Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan, former LCCI senior vice president Almas Hyder, President GREF Husnain Reza Mirza, former finance minister Dr Salman Shah, former secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Shamshad Ahmad, senior vice president GREF Lt Gen Sikander Afzal were prominent amongst the other experts from different economic sectors. LCCI Executive Committee members Zeeshan Khalil, Awais Saeed Piracha, Moazzam Rasheed and Tariq Mahmood were also present.

The experts said that being an economically challenged country, Pakistan needs to be part of new economic alliances to reap the benefits of globalization. They said that over the last two decades, globally escalation of trade with new partners has played a powerful role in economic and political integration while our dependence on a few countries for trade created severe challenges for economy. They said that axis of Pakistan’s new strategic economic foreign policies should be expansion of trade & economic relations with China, Iran, Russia and Turkey.

LCCI President Abdul Basit said it is a good omen that Pakistan has already changed its priority and looking for new supportive economic partners. He said that emerging alliance of Pakistan, Russia, China and Iran can change the fortune of this region where half of world’s population lives. Pakistan would have enough electricity by the end of 2020 and our road and railway network will also be upgraded that will help country to become part of any trade block.

While analyzing Pakistan’s trade and economic relations with Russia, Iran, Turkey and China, experts said that Pakistan’s share in total foreign trade of Russia is very insignificant while trade balance is also in the favor of Russia. Though bilateral trade between the two countries is increasing gradually but it is not satisfactory and there was a lot of scope to enhance mutual trade volume. Russia helped Pakistan establishing a mega steel mill at Karachi, which has played a crucial role in the development of the country. Such more initiatives by Russia would be crucial for Pakistan’s economy. They said that being neighboring brotherly countries, Pakistan and Iran should give priority to each other for import of goods rather than buying from distant countries.

Regarding Pak-Turk relations, the experts said that Pakistan and Turkey are enjoying close cultural, historical and military relations which are now expanding into deepening economic relations. Both countries are also planning to strengthen their close ties into a strategic partnership but this process should be expedited.

They said that China is already contributing to the Pakistani economy. They said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has grabbed the attention of world and important countries like Russia and Iran have expressed the desired to be part of this mega project. They said that China should also be focused as export hub for Pakistani merchandise. All the experts concluded with the opinion that public and private sector should join heads to form such powerful economic policies that can help Pakistan secure its share in the regional and international trade.

President of Golden Ring Economic Forum Husnain Reza Mirza threw light on the aims and objectives of the GREF. He said that the economic bloc comprising Pakistan, China, Iran, Turkey and Russia has 20% of the world resources and their collective efforts can make this bloc the focal point of future economic development.