Government promoting intra-Saarc trade through liberalisation, connectivity: Minister

Islamabad, June 23, 2013 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Senator Kamran Michael on Sunday said government is promoting intra-regional trade through confidence building measures, liberalisation, and improved connectivity.

The strategy will unlock growth potential of the region marred with lowest level of intra-regional trade in the world, he said.

Speaking at a reception jointly organised by Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Pakistan Forum, Kamran Michael said that only way to bring billions of people out of poverty is enhanced regional trade for which full equipped ports are imperative.

VP Saarc Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik, Zubair Tufail, VP FPCCI Naveed Jan Baloch, Tariq Haleem, Raheel Khan Bhatti, MNA Pervaiz Malik, MNA Qaisar Shaikh, Senator Haji Adeel, Gen (Retd) Abdul Quyum, DG DTO Jaweed Qureshi, Kunwar Qutbuddin, Iqbal Tabish, Malik Sohail, Farida Rashid, Zafar Bakhtawri, Munawal Mughal and Tariq Sadiq and others were also present on the occasion.

Mr Michael said that around a quarter of the world’s population lives in Saarc but we produce less than two per cent of global GDP due to political conflicts and lack of lack sufficient competencies and capacities.

We need expanding regional production networks, integration into the global economy, foreign direct investment, removal of trade and investment barriers, and heightened demand for which we need to improve infrastructure, he said.

Integration of trade between Pakistan and India has made some progress but remained limited due to trade barriers and insufficient regional cooperation which is now being tackled on a fast pace, he informed.

Mr Michael said that government is seriously considering launching ferry service between ports of Karachi and Gujarat. Ferry service between the two parts of world continued in ancient times, it peaked during British Raj and ended in 1965.

Earlier, Iftikhar Ali Malik apprised the minister of congestion on ports which is hurting the imports and exports and demanded deepening of the ports so that larger cargo ships can be anchored there.

The container terminals are going to face an acute congestion if no timely expansion in existing facilities or no new terminals are developed to meet annual growth in the traffic of containerised cargo, said former VP FPCCI Zubair Tufail.

Chairman FPPCI Committee on Ports and Shipping Tariq Haleem said the under the present competitive world market, our exports and imports are becoming costly and uncompetitive against the regional countries due to want of better facilities.

The business community demanded to appoint one representative of the private sector on the boards of Port Qasim and other entities working under the Ministry of Ports and Shipping to improve its efficiency and ensure national development.

For more information, contact:
Syed Masood Alam Rizvi
Secretary General
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)
B-1, Federation House, Main Clifton Road,
Karachi-75600, Pakistan
Tel: 0092-21-35873691, 93-94
Fax: +9221 3587 4332