Indo-Pak agreement : ‘Comprehensive dialogues can increase trade tenfold’

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has welcomed the Pakistan-India agreement to resume comprehensive dialogues, terming it as a step in the right direction, which would help enhance trade between the two major countries of the region.

APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi said there was a dire need for India to resume the dialogue process with Pakistan by adopting a comprehensive approach. “Militancy in India-held Kashmir cannot be resolved if the Kashmiris are not taken onboard. Pakistan was consistent in its desire to resolve all issues with India, which was the reason why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took part in Modi’s oath taking ceremony,” he added.

He said that the Indo-Pak trade could jump 10 times more than the current volume, while the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed by India could result in an expansion of trade between the two countries from its current $2.5 billion to about $50 billion.

Qureshi stated that Islamabad and New Delhi should play their role to resolve bilateral issues, which are creating hurdles in trade. He went on to appreciate the role of Pakistani national forces and the people in fighting against terrorism.

He insisted that all regional powers must show maturity to bring back peace and stability in the region, adding that only 5% trade of Southeast Asia is within the region while rest of the 95% trade of SAARC countries is with Europe and America, which has impeded development.

He said that easing trade and visa restrictions, encouraging people-to-people contacts and promoting tourism, health and education could bring both countries together. He said that the economic integration of China and South Asia would form a huge market of 2.8 billion people.

“We are looking towards China for mega investments in infrastructure development to increase connectivity to boost trade,” he added.


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