ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood Tuesday said the government’s resolve to work for achieving economic, social and cultural development in the South Asian region by combating common challenges of poverty, unemployment, terrorism, transnational crimes and climate change.
“South Asia has huge potentials for transforming development landscape of our region and to achieve this, South Asian Association of Regional Countries (SAARC) has to redouble its efforts in deepening cooperation”.
He was addressing the 35th SAARC Charter Day organized by SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.
SAARC, he said needs to focus more on the delivery of concrete results through effective implementation of the commitments and decisions made so far.
He said in his message on the 35th SAARC Charter Day, Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated the fact that, “We as nation believe in regional cooperation in form of SAARC. We firmly believe in the strength of SAARC and its potential to improve wellbeing of individuals, nation and as whole region.”
Dawood said closer integration on energy, trade, connectivity and stability offers strong potential to enhance growth in the region.
However, he said it was more costly for South Asian countries to trade with each other than to trade with distant Brazil.
Policies to reduce these costs would need to address non-tariff barriers, trade facilitation measures, harmonization of regulations and standards, and information-sharing, he added.
He said lowering trade costs would help to deepen producers’ and consumers’ connectivity to the global marketplace.
Moreover, he said policies should also address trade costs within countries—for example, to create more opportunities for the majority of poor people that live in rural areas that are usually not as well connected as urban areas.
The South Asian region faces several negative issues like terrorism, pollution, poverty, unemployment, rapid unorganized urbanization, refugees, political instability, corruption and several communicable and non communicable disease outbreaks.
The advisor also congratulated senior businessman Iftikhar Ali Malik on his nomination as SAARC CCI president.
Iftikhar Malik on the occasion said with 35 percent of the youth in this region, the region was the work force of the 21st century when the rest of the world had an ageing population.
Hence, with a good cooperation among the member states, the region can become a strong economy and a better society in the near future, he added.
Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Engineer Daroo Khan stressed the need for promoting inter region trade to alleviate poverty and prosperity of the region.
High Commissioner of Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal and others also briefly spoke.