LAHORE  - About 55 per cent of the total potential for intra-regional trade in South Asia has not been fully exploited.

Briefing traders on Saturday on his return from New Delhi after representing Pakistan at General Assembly and Executive Committee meeting of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Chapter, Iftikhar Ali Malik said that Indo-Pak trade ties could be improved through shared vision about objectives, transfer of technology and exchange of research and development. He said that despite huge natural resources and mineral deposits, the state of intra region trade in South Asia was dismal. He said Pakistan and India possessed great economic potential and enhanced trade relations could bring them closer, provided all core issues confronting either state were settled amicably through result oriented talks. He said that bilateral investment was the most effective tool to create mutual stake of India and Pakistan which he added would help diffuse tension and subsequently resolve all issues impeding the economic growth of the entire region.

South Asia needed to negotiate collectively at multilateral trading forums, using the regional forum of SAARC to advance its economic and social growth and enhance human development, he said, adding that current trade negotiations had failed to address the problems faced by the region.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said that Indian stakeholders were urged to exercise their influence on their government to address all the burning issues including Kashmir dispute, water conflict, war on terror besides promotion of mutual trade.

A high level hundred-member Pakistan public sector delegation attended the seminar on “Role of Human Resources in Trade Promotion in Asia.”

The senior vice president and vice presidents of all member countries along with delegates also participated in the seminar.