LCCI holds seminar on “The Pros and Cons of Trade Relations with India”
LAHORE: Pakistan must weigh the risks and benefits of opening trade with India. This was upshot of the speeches delivered at a seminar on “The Pros and Cons of Trade Relations with India”, jointly organized by the Institute for Policy Reforms and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.
Chairman the Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR) and former federal commerce minister Humayun Akhtar Khan, the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz, Adviser IPR Dr. Manzoor Ahmad and convener LCCI Standing Committee on Pak-India Trade Aftab Ahmad Vohra were prominent among the others.
Humayun Akhter Khan said that normal trade with India has been under discussion for many years. Rigorous assessment of cost and benefits is the only way to take a decision and to move this matter to closure, one way, or another. He said that this approach would also bring all stakeholders on common ground. He said that the fits and starts nature of the relationship finds reflection in conflicting trends.
The LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that trade normalization between India and Pakistan is not as simple as it seems to be. He said that there are a number of factors that determine these bilateral trade relations.
“We are in favor of it but it has to be done very carefully. We do not fear to compete with India in a free trade regime but before opening borders, we must have a well thought out plan which is to be finalized in consultation with private sector” LCCI President said.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the Lahore Chamber has especially partnered with Institute for Policy Reforms with a view to hold a debate to see the possibilities of increasing direct trade between two countries.
Aftab Vohra Head of LCCI’s Pakistan India Trade Committee relied on extensive personal experience of trading on Pakistan’s land border with India. He said that Pakistan businesses and consumers would benefit greatly by opening trade route. It would help both exports from Pakistan and imports from India. He dwelled on the need for improved trade facilitation and logistics to facilitate traders. Specifically, he called on a single point customs check by customs authorities of both countries. New security restrictions on accessing the Wagah post are a great inconvenience for passengers and traders. He said that political differences must not impede trade interests and cited many examples of regional