KARACHI - Brian Graul, Chief of Party, USAID Pakistan Trade Project has recognised the active role of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry for promotion of trading and industrial activities in Karachi and elsewhere during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He informed that USAID Pakistan Trade Project started in 2009 and is designed to focus and harness the power of international trade as an engine for sustainable economic growth and stability in Pakistan. Through targeted technical assistance, this USAID-funded programme supports the Government of Pakistan and private sector stakeholders in improving the trade environment through effective trade policy implementation; trade reforms, enhance capacity, procedures and systems of Pakistan’s institutions to increase regional trade, especially through Pakistan’s borders; and builds capacity of Pakistan ‘s private and public sector institutions.

He said that USAID team is working with Commerce Ministry and National Tariff Commission in the area of trade environment and cross-border trade facilitation. A project e-Portal of Online Trade Facilitation Tool was in progress with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

Trade project also provided its research for new APTTA covering modernisation of Customs practices and procedures. He revealed that Trade Project has commissioned a study on Indo-Pak trade liberalisation to help Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce identify potential of bilateral trade with India.

President KCCI Muhammad Haroon Agar has urged Chief of USAID Trade Project to execute Indo-Pak cross-border trade assessment study from Khokrapar-Monabao Border to start trade on the pattern of Waggah-Attari. Exchanging views with Brian Graul, he appreciated ongoing USAID Trade Project which supports trade policy implementation, capacity building programme of concerned government departments including FBR, Customs to improve regional and cross-border trade particularly with Afghanistan and India. He emphasised that for cross-border trade, Pakistani borders lack sufficient infrastructure and modern integrated check-posts and indispensable services.

 and border procedures are not ideally oriented for trade facilitation. Single window facility as per international trade practices is essential. He further suggested that Pakistan Railways network is almost collapsed and cross-border trade is totally dependent on road transport which is very costly due to high consumption of costly fuel so a study to revive Pakistan Railways for trade with Afghanistan and India is also need of time. He also apprised about the KCCI’s role in the formation of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber and Bombay-Karachi Joint Chamber to promote regional trade. He assured USAID Trade Project Team in Pakistan Karachi Chamber’s best support and cooperation. For mutual cooperation KCCI & USAID will sign a Memorandum of Understanding shortly.

Anjum Nisar, former President KCCI asserted upon the need of enhancing regional trade and was of the view to capture at least 1 percent GDP of India through trade. He underscored to carryout research to increase agricultural yield and value addition in agro products. He lamented that Pakistan was confronting negative growth of 3.3 percent as 2 percent GDP was lost due to energy crisis and 1.3 percent vanished due to law and order situation. He also highlighted problems of SMEs in Pakistan.

Abdul Qadir Memon, Senior Advisor, USAID Pakistan Trade Project, Hussan Bano Burki, Deputy Chief of Party, USAID Trade Project, Mian Abrar Ahmad, former President KCCI, Shamim Firpo, Senior Vice President, Nasir Mehmood Vice President and Managing Committee Members KCCI also participated in the meeting and shared their views on matters of mutual interest.