islamabad - Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Saturday underlined that Pakistan is ready to move forward on extending its trade and investment relations with the regional countries provided that the other countries also provide meaningful market access and level playing field for country’s exports.

He made these remarks while chairing a meeting to review trade related issues with SAARC countries at the Finance Ministry. Finance Minister said that the Prime Minister has a vision for peaceful neighborhood and an enabling environment for economic development in the region. He said that all the pros and cons of regional trade would be evaluated to accrue maximum benefits in Pakistan’s exports within the region.

Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan briefed the participants of the meeting on the status of trade relations of Pakistan with the regional countries. He also informed that as per instructions of the Prime Minister, he will be representing Pakistan in the forthcoming South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) meeting to be held in Bhutan next week. He also gave a briefing on expected meetings with his counterparts from the SAARC countries, including India, on the sidelines of the SAFTA meeting.

Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry gave an overview of the political dimensions in the regional context and suggested ways and means to move ahead on enhancing trade and investment relations within the SAARC countries. He also briefed the participants of the meeting on latest political developments in the region and their impact on mutual bilateral relations among the SAARC Countries.

Finance Minister said that the Commerce Minister’s visit to Bhutan is an important visit, where in addition to participation in SAFTA meeting, he will also have the opportunity to meet with his counterparts from regional countries. He said that it must be ensured that all the concessions on the regional cooperation are on reciprocal basis and concerns of our industry should be taken care of in the arrangement. Finance Minister gave a roadmap to the Commerce Minister in order to move ahead on regional cooperation. Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Shahid Mahmood Additional Finance Secretary/SA to Finance Minister, and senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Commerce also attended the meeting.