LAHORE: Road to normalization of Pak-India relations is only through trade and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry can play a vital role in this regard.
This was stated by the Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambewale while talking to the LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Former LCCI presidents Mian Muhammad Ashraf, Tariq Hameed, Mian Anjum Nisar and Muhammad Ali Mian were also present on the occasion.
Indian High Commissioner said that there is no better way of improving bilateral relations than mutually beneficial economic ties.
He informed the participants that Federation of Indian Chambers of commerce and Industry (FICCI) intends to organize a Trade Show in collaboration with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) at Expo Center Lahore. He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry should be an active part of this mega event.
Indian High Commissioner said that the Indian government has recently commenced multiple visas for three years exclusively for businessmen. This includes visit of 15 Indian cities exempted for police reporting. Moreover, the businessmen can travel to India by road and return via air.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder said that traders of the both countries are facing various issues which are hampering the trade and economic activities between the two countries. He said, he believes that bilateral trade would get a considerable boost in coming years.
The LCCI Senior Vice President said that that regular exchange of delegations from both sides will greatly impact the normalization of trade and economic relations between Pakistan & India.
“In fact we are in favor of regional trade and gearing up for fair competition with India. The potential gains from increased economic integration between India and Pakistan are large whereas the trade between the two countries is unnaturally small.”
He said that opening trade with India will present countless opportunities to both the countries. Currently, the non tariff barriers being faced by Pakistani exporters are creating enormous problems.
He said that both countries need to find ways to cut down the number of Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) because one or two bad experiences lead the exporters to change their minds.
He proposed that both Pakistan and India should open Consulate offices in Lahore and Amritsar respectively for speeding up the process of visa endorsement. The business communities belonging to both these cities will not have to travel to their respective capital cities for visa purpose which is a loss of time and efforts, he added.
He said that our economies should supplement each other for growth and we need to identify areas of economic cooperation.
He said that joint ventures, out-sourcing and sharing of technology etc. will further pave the way for trade expansion.
Almas Hyder said that good trade and economic ties between the two countries would pave way for progress and prosperity, not only in Pakistan and India but in South Asia as well.
The LCCI former presidents also discussed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and a number of other upcoming opportunities with the Indian High Commissioner.
They said that Non-Tariff barriers must go because these are the biggest impediment. They also called for increase in border crossing hours at Wagha border.