KCCI expects opening of Khokhrapar-Monabao as trade border

Karachi: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) President Muhammad Haroon Agar has voiced to expedite execution to open Indo-Pak cross-border trade from Khokhrapar-Monabao Border on the pattern of Wagah-Attari.

Adequate infrastructure, modern integrated check-posts and indispensable services be planned and implemented at earliest convenience.

Agar exchanging viewpoints in a meeting with High Commissioner of India Sharat Sabharwal held at Karachi, reiterated that fostering the process of regional trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and India will bring peace and prosperity in the region.

He hoped that “negative list” will be dismantled before the end of year 2012 and Pakistan will accord MFN status to India as well. Both countries will have to demonstrate same greater political will to foster relations as shown in negotiations during last two years, he maintained.

KCCI recently organized Indian Single Country Textiles Exhibition with Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council of India. Another single country exhibition India Expo will be organized from 21~23 December at Karachi Expo Centre with Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO). One complete hall for Indian and International Pavilion is also planned in KCCI’s 10th My-Karachi Exhibition to be organized from 5~7 July, 2013.

Chairman Sindh Board of Investment, President Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry and former President KCCI Muhammad Zubair Motiwala appreciated the recent moves by Indo-Pak Governments for strengthening commercial and economic ties. He was satisfied to note that things between two countries were moving further to remove trade barriers, introduce banking channel, and joint ventures. He admired the initiative by Indian government to allow Pakistani investors apply investment in India through Indian Board of Investment Promotion.

He proposed to introduce Mediation/Arbitration Committees in Mumbai and Karachi to address the grievances of importers and exporters of two countries comprising of Presidents of Karachi and Bombay Chamber or their nominees, Retired Judges; and Retired Customs Officials of Commissioner Level. This Six-Members Committee (3 members from each country) would evaluate the grievances of the importers/ exporters of two-countries and would address their grievances accordingly.

He inquired about visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan. He said that balance of trade was tilting towards India and more people-to-people contacts are essential to channelize bilateral trade in efficient manner. He hoped that Pakistan will likely get GSP Plus in EU by 2014 which would also benefit India as next door neighbour.

He informed that an Indian company at Rajasthan border was interested to exploit Thar coal reserves of Pakistan for producing energy and provide electricity to Pakistan on barter-basis. Liberalizing Indo-Pak trade may bring some injuries to domestic industry but not much; hence strengths and weaknesses are on both sides. 26 cosmopolitan cities of India are itself big markets for Pakistani businesspersons.

High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal informed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted the invitation to visit Pakistan; however, dates are not finalized.

He articulated that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s vision is to transform South Asia with the cooperation of all neighbouring countries of India, including Pakistan, the region moves from poverty to prosperity and from ignorance to a knowledgeable society.

While exchanging views on Indo-Pak bilateral trade liberalization he said that “both sides have to walk the last mile”. He said that Indo Pak dialogues were productive and subsequent development will be beneficial for two countries. He said that Indian side asked for MFN, Pakistani side urged for removal of NTBs. Subsequently, 3 agreements viz. Customs Cooperation, Agreement on Mutual Recognition and Redressal of Grievances were signed which will be implemented after completion of all legal formalities to streamline bilateral trade. One deadline for removal of restriction on though land route is passed, another deadline to dismantle negative list is coming. Developments are based on reciprocal basis with consideration and implementation from both ends.

He said that Indian side was adhering to commitments and looking forward to Pakistani side for same. Moving further is subject to fulfilment commitments (mentioned in the joint statement of 7th round of talks of Indo-Pak Commerce Secretaries on commercial and economic cooperation). New liberalized visa regime will be applied soon.

Vice Chairmen Businessmen Group & former Presidents KCCI Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Farooki, Former Presidents KCCI Majyd Aziz, Haroon Bari, Senior Vice President KCCI Shamim Firpo, Vice President Nasir Mehmood also participated in the meeting and shared their views on Indo-Pak bilateral commercial opportunities.

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