Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges government to focus on promotion of regional trade

Lahore, July 21, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday urged the government to focus on promotion of regional trade for being more efficient in terms of cost and logistics. “The country needs to develop a strategy of engagement with regional countries to maximise mutual economic and commercial benefits.”

In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that Pakistan occupies a strategic location and can play a major role in transforming the region into a trade and manufacturing hub. He said that the promotion of regional trade also offers very promising benefits to the industry as it would enable it to source raw materials from the region that reduces cost of production and creates opportunities to improve economy of scales by having easy access to neighbouring markets on the other hand.

The LCCI President said that the growth in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region that houses 22 per cent of the world population has been projected to surpass 50 per cent of the world’s GDP by 2030 and that calls for immediate steps by the government to boost intra-regional trade.

The SAARC is the biggest trading block in the world with lowest level of trade. Contribution of South Asia in the global GDP is less than two per cent and its share in exports in only 1.5 per cent, which does not reflect true potential the region owns.

Pace of growth in SAARC region has been slower at five per cent as compared with other blocs like European Union, ASEAN and NAFTA wherein intra-regional trade is estimated at 62 per cent, 58 per cent and 28 per cent respectively. For greater Asia we should enhance cooperation with China, Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

He said that a freer movement of the businessmen can transform this region into a block like European Union where the people of eight nations will remain in peace like as a family. Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said, “Our region has lost momentum but it has ability to bounce back as we have over 50 per cent of young population, 12 per cent of known global natural resources, and all prerequisites to become a developed nation.

He said that with markets in the US and Europe expected to experience prolonged weaknesses and the South Asian countries have the opportunity to rethink and pursue new sources of growth in both domestic and external markets.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854