Karachi: The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which focuses on strengthening ties and exchanging information between the two organizations, besides facilitating Indo-Pak business communities and promoting Small & Medium Enterprises on both sides of the border.
The agreement of was signed by President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki and Joint Secretary FISME, Mukesh Kalra on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘Trade Opportunities in Pakistan and India’ organized by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in association with Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME).
Besides President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki, the seminar was also attended by Senior Vice President KCCI, Muffasar A. Malik, Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees, Chairman of KCCI Special Committee for International Affairs, Junaid Esmail Makda, Former President KCCI, Khalid Firoz, Chairman of Fairs, Exhibitions & Trade Delegation Sub-Committee, Naveed Farooki and other Managing Committee members whereas Joint Secretary FISME, Mukesh Kalra, who led the 15-member Indian delegation, and President of Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Ms. Neera Saggi were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, President Bombay Chamber Neera Saggi, while identifying Non-tariff barriers and complicated visa procedures of India and Pakistan as key hurdles, stressed the need to remove these bottlenecks in order to enhance trade between the two countries.
She said that all modes of trade including sea, water and air between Pakistan and India need to be exploited and further strengthened in order to facilitate smooth cross-border trade between the two countries.
Neera Saggi further mentioned that Karachi Chamber and BCCI enjoy excellent relations particularly after the signing of an Understanding in 2010 which has resulted in bringing the business communities of both countries closer.
She said that Indo-Pak business communities have expressed willingness and are looking forward to do business with each other, giving impetus to the governments of both countries to facilitate trade.
Emphasizing the need to enhance trade, she said that trade volume between Pakistan and India can improve substantially if both governments effectively deal with informal trade between the two countries. This can be done by simplifying the complex visa procedures, along with the eradication of Tariff and Non-Tariff barriers.
Earlier, while welcoming the Indian delegates, President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki said that today’s joint seminar will help seek ways and means on how to enhance Pak-India bilateral trade and investment.
He said that although the governments of two countries have brought about substantial positive changes by removing many trade barriers but friendly and cooperative relation is further needed to expand trade.
Both sides have made considerable progress in improving bilateral trade ties. Pakistan has moved from a Positive List regime to a Negative List regime, which substantially increases the tradable items with India. Similarly, India has liberalized its earlier restrictions on inward/outward investment flows to Pakistan, Abdullah noted.
He said that Karachi Chamber of Commerce is playing an active role for SMEs development. KCCI is also raising voice to link Micro Entrepreneurs with SMEs so that the Micro Entrepreneurs may also enjoy the benefits offered to SMEs. “It is the need of hour to motivate people of both countries to choose self-employment instead of seeking jobs. It is in the interest of the both countries to strengthen Small & Medium enterprises‚ and to provide their people with opportunities of self-reliance”, he added.
Abdullah assured full cooperation and support to FISME and hoped that mutual cooperation between KCCI and FISME will grow further to facilitate the business communities of both countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Head of the Indian delegation and Joint Secretary FISME, Mukesh Kalra warmly welcomed the support extended by KCCI and the hospitality shown by Pakistanis during their stay in Lahore and Karachi, which has made their trip memorable.
He said that the ground reality in Pakistan is totally contrary to what was being broadcasted in the media. “The exemplary hospitality shown by Pakistanis has changed our perception about Pakistan”, he added
He informed that the 15-member Indian business delegation comprised of businessmen from various sectors including information technology, automobile, carpet, LED lights, online advertising & marketing etc. “I must let you know that it is undoubtedly a significant trip for us and I am fairly optimistic it will be a great achievement for FISME as one of the delegation member is likely to sign a trade contract with a Pakistani counterpart soon which is an outcome of this short trip to Pakistan”, he informed.
Mukesh Kalra said that FISME delegation’s visit to Pakistan has been arranged with a view to explore ways and means on how to enhance trade with Pakistan and look for partners. In this regard, he asked Karachi Chamber to support FISME so that the Indian businessmen could undertake joint ventures. “Pakistan is an attractive place for Indian businessmen who can establish their businesses or undertake joint ventures in Pakistan as it offers excellent investment opportunities and holds good infrastructure”, he added.