FCCI suggests making trade centre point of foreign policy

In a meeting held with Pakistan Ambassadors designate to Thailand, Uzbekistan and Cambodia, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has suggested that trade and specifically textile exports should be the central point of Pakistan’s foreign policy and the diplomats should promote image of the country to encourage Pakistani exports.

Addressing the meeting at the FCCI office, Mr Sohail Khan, Ambassador to Thailand, said that the Foreign Ministry had set a unique example of sending ambassadors-designate to various chambers of commerce so that they could identify the economic problems and play their role in enhancing export to these countries during their posting. He said that more than 60 percent of world trade has been tapped as regional trade and we must exploit the benefits of geographical closeness coupled with cultural and religious similarities. He asked the FCCI to provide them the website and other links in order to increase the trade with these countries.

He said information regarding duties, tariffs and non-tariff barriers, customs duties, would be provided to the Pakistani exporters so that they could economically exploit the available export potential of these countries. He also supported the idea of sending delegations and arranging single country exhibitions. He said that meeting of Joint Commission was held in the recent past and another meeting is expected during this year. We are also conducting a joint session to sign Free Trade Agreement with Thailand. He asked the exporters and particularly textile exporters to exploit these markets which are readily available in our own region.

Ambassador-designate to Uzbekistan Mr Riaz Hussain Bukhari said that main hurdle to increase the bilateral trade was of law and order situation in Afghanistan. He said that there are some problems which could be resolved by the exporters at their level but at the government level, they would try their best to facilitate the exporters.

Mr Amjad Ali Sher, Ambassador-designate to Cambodia, said that Cambodia was a peaceful and emerging economy and Pakistani exporters could easily negotiate and start joint ventures in textile sector for export and re-export of some goods and semi-finished goods.

Earlier in his Welcome Address to the Ambassadors designate, FCCI President Mian Zahid Aslam said trends of international trade have got massive change and new economic blocks are emerging as traditional export destinations of Europe and the US are consistently facing recession. He said that the most successful model of international trade is ‘regional trade’ and it is important that exports of Pakistan be enhanced to regional and non-traditional markets. He stated that regional trade among NAFTA is 60 percent, EU 53 percent and ASEAN has regional trade of 26 percent. He said that Thailand, Uzbekistan and Cambodia are a potential markets for Pakistani products and the trade volume with both the three countries could be increased manifold.

He particularly mentioned that economy size of Thailand is only 1.5 times high as compare to Pakistan but Pakistan has less than 0.5 percent share in imports of Thailand taking in view of its import volume of US$ 213 billion in 2012. Similarly, despite geographical proximity, shared heritage, cultural and Islamic country of Uzbekistan, our trade volume with the country is negligible. He said that Cambodia has two main sectors: textile and Tourism and mutual trade can be enhanced through joint ventures and tapping potential of economic opportunities available in both the countries.