Call to improve trade ties in South Asia

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


LAHORE(The News): IMPROVEMENT in trade and economic ties should be made in South Asia on the equality basis while also keep watching the negative and aggressive attitude of India towards Pakistan.

These views were expressed by experts at the Jang Economic Session on ‘Is trade and friendship with India favourable for Pakistan’, here on Monday. The panelists were Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Habib Ahmed, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Aftab Ahmed Vohra and Waleed Khan while hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.

Iqbal Ahmed Khan said exports are important for the economic revival of Pakistan but concerns never end regarding trade with India due to its negative impacts on Pakistan industry and agriculture with import of Indian goods. He said a country progressed when its borders were stable and peaceful while bilateral trade could not be progressed without creating peace at borders. He said neighbouring countries considered Pakistan a nursery for terrorists and to end this impression Pakistan needed to eliminate terrorism from root. He called for joint venture, removal of non-tariff barriers for the economic growth of the region.

Habib Ahmed said the government could eradicate many economic evils by increasing country’s exports. He said Japan and Korea were doing huge exports due to mass production, so Pakistan also needed to look towards it. He called for focusing on cotton, rice and textile to increase exports. He said the import of Indian goods would have negative impact on Pakistan’s industry while lack of policies was worsening problems. He suggested the ban should not be imposed on trade with India, rather watching the opportunity and market needed to evolve the policy and carefully implement it while evolve friendly relationships with other regional countries.

Jamshed Iqbal Cheema said relations could not be established with one sided efforts while Pakistan facing law and order, water and many other problems due to India, so mistrust environment was not ending. He said bilateral trade could not be possible until India resolve Kashmir, water, non-tariff barriers and other issues, change its behaviour towards Pakistan. He said if government wanted to increase exports it should focus on the agriculture sector. Aftab Ahmed Vohra said efforts at every level were required for economic improvement and trade relations with India. He said this would not only grow trade but cheaper items would also be available for public. He said time factor was the biggest advantage while doing trade with India as finished goods could be reached India quickly through Wagah border. He said trade with India could be beneficial for cheap imports.

Waleed Khan said trade with India could be beneficial on the economic ground but relations with Afghanistan and other countries should also be improved. He called for checking the smuggling of cement and other items to increase exports.

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