Islamabad: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Wednesday asked Pakistan and India to resolve outstanding issues so that increased bilateral trade can help reduce tensions, trigger development to bring tens of millions out of poverty.
Pakistan shouldn’t delay granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India as further hesitation is not in the interest of the two neighbours who should achieve shared goal of peace and prosperity, said Zakria Usman, President FPCCI.
Speaking to the business community, he said that trade between Pakistan and India has doubled in the last two years to US$ 2.7 billion which can be pushed up to US $ 8-10 billion in the short term while the real potential is around dollar 50 billion per annum.
Enhanced trade between Pakistan and India will not only benefit the two economies but will also serve to increase trade among regional countries which will ultimately lead to fulfilling the dream of regional integration, he said.
Zakria Usman said that strong political will is needed by the policymakers of the two governments to realise the actual trade potential which can be achieved by easing visa restrictions, lifting tariff as well as non-tariff barriers, improving infrastructure and bridging information gap.
MFN to India will not hit Pakistan’s economy as feared by some sectors that are worried of competition with a larger economy, he noted. The FPCCI Chief said that we have been missing great opportunities by delaying grant of MFN status to India which is not in our interest.
The dialogue process between Islamabad and New Delhi must remain uninterruptible and irreversible despite minor problems, he demanded.
Usman said that trade liberalisation is an important tool for low-income countries to help pool up knowledge and resources to address the issues of poverty and income inequality.