Indo Pak trade can increase by $7.5bn per annum

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India have the potential to take bilateral trade from current $2.5 billion to $10 billion per annum and both countries should focus on expanding cooperation from ‘goods’ to ‘services’ as well as build capacity of public departments to facilitate the growth of trade up to full potential. 

This was stated by MAP Services Group Managing Partner Huma Fakhar while exchanging views with Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Zafar Bakhtawari during her visit to ICCI on Tuesday.

She briefed the ICCI president about the activities of MAP Services Group and informed that the group is working on Indo-Pak Trade and Investment Project to promote trade and investment between the two countries. We are also in the process of setting up an Indo-Pak Trade Portal for SMEs and young entrepreneurs to help them in improving trade.

She identified research and development, information technology, telecom, entertainment, agriculture, textile, pharmaceutical, automotive parts, light engineering and food packages as potential areas of mutual cooperation between Pakistan and India and added that Pakistan’s SME sector can also tap into knowledge economy of India.

She said that despite non-tariff barriers, the value of Indian goods entering Pakistan through informal channels was around $4.2 billion annually and said that the best way to promote formal trade is to make easy the trade procedures and processes. She said customs approvals should be automated with provision of single window facility and helpdesks at customs check points to facilitate the traders of both countries.

She said MAP Services would keep updating ICCI about the progress of Indo-Pak Trade and Investment Project so that the interested members of ICCI could benefit from this initiative.

Speaking at the occasion, Bakhtawari said that the gross domestic product (GDP) of Pakistan and India is almost 90 percent of South Asia’s GDP and low bilateral trade between these two countries is a major problem in promoting regional trade. Therefore, both countries should focus on addressing barriers and improving trade procedures and visa regimes.

He underlined that addressing several physical and regulatory impediments, improving physical infrastructure at the borders, amending transport protocols and dismantling of tariff and non-tariff barriers are measures that could bring about a substantial improvement in bilateral trade between Pakistan and India. He appreciated the initiative of MAP Services for promoting trade between the two countries through Indo-Pak Trade and Investment Project and assured that ICCI would extend its full cooperation to make this project successful.

Courtesy:   Daily Times

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