There is a need to promote and facilitate trade within the SAARC region in order to lower production costs, transportation costs and eventually benefit the consumer. This was stated by H E Mr. S M Muneer, Chief Executive, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). Mr. Muneer was addressing a Meeting organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with a High-Level Delegation from Pakistan. Mr. Muneer was of the view that trade in agricultural commodities could help bridge short term supply gaps.
He requested India to reduce the high tariffs it was currently imposing on agricultural products so as to facilitate this trade. In addition, Mr. Muneer suggested that there was a need to open more land routes to facilitate border trade. He felt that there was a need to facilitate visas in the two countries to promote both tourism and business. He also highlighted the need to re-visit the SAARC visas as their coverage and validity had become severely restricted. He also called for roaming facilities to be allowed for phones from one country being used in the other country.
Addressing the gathering, H E Mr. Abdul Basit, High Commissioner of Pakistan to India stated that due to the efforts of the business community, ties between India and Pakistan were now stronger. He stated that there was a need to build a relationship built on mutual trust and respect. In his remarks, Mr. Zakaria Usman, President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of commerce and Industry stated that there was a need to collaborate and exploit complementarities so that we can produce competitive goods and capture a greater share of the world market.
Citing the instance of the dairy industry, he stated that Pakistan was one of the leading producers of milk whereas India was strong in terms of dairy machinery. By combining forces, India and Pakistan could become leaders in terms of world dairy trade. He stated that there were many such examples like this. Addressing the participants, Mr.
Syed Yawar Ali, Chairman, Nestle Pakistan Limited and Co-Chairman, Pakistan India Joint Business Forum, pointed out that the two countries were at a unique point in their history. In both countries, the two Prime Ministers are perceived as being business friendly and progressive. Both were born after Independence and both enjoyed a majority in Parliament. He felt that there was a need to build on this and promote the cause of India Pakistan business relations. Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Mr.
Sunil Kant Munjal, Past President, CII and Co-Chairman, India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum stated that trade and industry was ready and willing to build on the positive momentum in bilateral ties that has been building up over the last couple of years. He felt that there was enormous potential to give a boost to bilateral trade from the current level of USD 3 billion to USD 10 billion. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Rajesh Menon, Deputy Director General, CII stated that CII would be happy to work with TDAP to find ways and means to give a boost to bilateral trade.