Trade (Businessmen urged to focus on Regional Trade)

Islamabad: There is a lot of potential in trading with regional countries and blocs like Saarc, Asean, OIC and Central Asian republics. Thus, a strategy of engagement with regional countries to maximize mutual economic and commercial benefits is direly needed to offset the impact of global recession.

Mr.Zafar Bakhtawari, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) made these remarks during a meeting with Mr.Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General Saarc Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Mr.Bakhtawari cited the example of Asean regional bloc which has a population of approximately 600 million people and significantly contributing in the world’s GDP.

He said that promotion of regional trade also offered promising benefits to the industry as it would enable it to source raw materials from the region that would ultimately reduce the cost of production and create opportunities to improve economy of scales by having an easy access to neighbouring markets.

ICCI President also informed him that ICCI have planned to host a meeting of all the Capital Chambers Conference in Islamabad with the aim to promote mutually beneficial relation between Pakistan and other countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General, SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Government should focus on industrial led growth to bring the country out of current economic stagnation and create new employment opportunities.

He said our immediate neighbours China and India are two fast growing economies and if Pakistan has to compete and catch up with them, the best option is to go for industrial led growth of economy.

Mr. Tabish said that in the political economy and global world, Chambers of Commerce have assumed increased importance to influence policy making in favour of entrepreneurs. He said Chambers could play more effective role by transforming themselves from platforms to strong institutions.

He said that Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry should organize a Capital Chambers Convention to promote soft image of the country and send a positive message about Pakistan to the outside world.

He said SAARC Chamber is doing strong advocacy for regional integration so that South Asia could emerge as a powerful economic bloc to improve the living standard of its people.

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