LAHORE               -             The Lahore Chamber of Commerce (LCCI) & Industry and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) have decided to work jointly for promotion of trade and economic activities in the country.

The decision was made during the visit of FPCCI President Mian Anjum Nisar to the LCCI on Thursday. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad also spoke on the occasion while former office-bearers Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Muhammad Ali Mian, Sohail Lashari, Amjad Ali Jawa, Nasir Hameed Khan, Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal and Executive Committee members were also present.

Current economic scenario and challenges being faced by the trade and industry came under discussion.

Mian Anjum Nisar said that the public-private partnership was the best solution to the problems being faced by the business community and was also a good recipe for economic revival of the country. He called for a level-playing field not only for the exporters but also for the domestic industry, which could not compete with the regional countries due to high interest rate and energy tariffs. He said that improving exports’ performance remains the most relevant long-term structural challenge to alleviate the balance-of-payments constraint to sustained economic growth. He said that the current export porAtfolio was due to a lack of diversification, as few products were being exported to limited markets. So a major enhancement in exports requires huge and wide structural reforms. He suggested the relevant government departments to join heads with the private sector for finding a methodology for increasing the exports of the country. He observed that a more diversified economy results in more diverse exports, and this was required to acquire the wider set of productive capabilities that was needed to export goods with a higher level of sophistication.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh emphasized the need for economic diplomacy to cement Pakistan's trade and economic ties with the outer world. He said that Pakistan could not remain in isolation in the present economic arena where all countries were working hard to contribute heavily and to get maximum share in the international trade. He said that economic diplomacy should be a high priority for the government.

“Economic diplomacy is defined as the decision-making, policy making and advocating of a state's business interests”, he said, adding, agenda of economic diplomacy should be very comprehensive and includes amongst other issues pertaining to foreign trade and import-export relations, promotion of national economic interests in other country, informing and updating potential foreign investors on investment opportunities, negotiating economic and trade agreements on economic and trade cooperation. He said both the LCCI and FPCCI have their own strengths and the joining of hands by the two institutions would bring a positive change. He said that Pakistan could not make an impact on international level only because of lack of awareness about latest business methodologies.

He said that the LCCI was also spending a considerable amount of energy on the collection of necessary business-related data that would help bring convert certain unorganized sectors into organized ones. He said that duties and taxes on the import of industrial raw materials should be reduced to bring down the cost of doing business. He said that there was a dire need to jointly work for improving Pakistan’s perception that has been tarnished by the enemies of the country for their ulterior motives and to achieve this goal all the chambers of commerce and industry of the country and the trade bodies would have to work together. He said that LCCI has established help desks of PESSI, Traffic Police, NADRA, Excise & Taxation, SMEDA, FBR, LESCO, IPO, Exports Facilitation and Complaint Cell to provide matchless services to the business community.