Islamabad : President, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Suraj Vaidya will land tomorrow (December 5) on a five-days official visit to Pakistan to meet local business tycoons and government officials to accelerate the efforts of the SAARC chamber in promoting economic, trade and investment linkages across the region.
This was revealed by SAARC Chamber Vice President Pak chapter Iftikhar Ali Malik while talking to media here Monday.
He said Suraj Vaidya, a leading industrialist and investor from Nepal, is due to arrive in Karachi on Tuesday (today) where he will meet with bigwigs hailing from business community and later arrive in Islamabad on December 06 where he will meet important government officials and traders.
He said President SAARC Chamber Vaidya assured him that being President of SAARC CCI his focus will continue to priorities better connectivity and establishment of SAARC industrial parks for better investment facilitation.
He said there is dire need of hour to utilize this platform to bring prosperity in the region. “If we utilize our potential in its true order, our region could make higher pace of development within next decades although currently it is lagging behind in terms of development” he added.
He said that the private sector of the region is committed to socio economic integration of South Asia. He said that the business community of the region believes in harmony and advocates regional economic integration to address the major challenges the region faces including job creation and poverty.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said despite of the intense proximity the South Asian region is the least connected region in the world and there is need to work for eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers.
He said trade volume among the member states is not up to the mark and there is a lot of things to do to enhance trade in the region as according to the World Bank, intra-regional Saarc trade is less than 5pc of total trade in comparison to 35pc in East Asia, 60pc in Europe and 25pc in the Asean.
“And intra-regional capital spending is less than 1pc of overall investment. Energy sharing within the region is minimal in spite of significant potential and unmet demand,” he added.
He further said Pakistan has 3.1pc of its trade with the entire region, including India, that has a major share of 2.4pc in Pakistani imports and 0.76pc in exports. Bangladesh is the second biggest regional market for Pakistani goods.
He said regional integration is important for the growth of smaller companies. The big companies, he said, can trade with the rest of the world easily.
Iftikhar Malik stressed that there is a huge potential for a country like Pakistan to benefit from regional integration. “Several issues including restricted coverage of the trade agreement, poor physical infrastructure, and inadequate trade facilitation have also minimised the relevance of the trade pact,” adding he said Pakistan was fully committed to promote regional cooperation. However, he added a combined effort by all member states was required to achieve the objectives.