President ABF touts regional trade as economic crisis solution


President American Business Forum (ABF) Salim Ghauri has urged the government to focus on increase in regional trade in order to come out of economic crisis.
According to him, only improved regional cooperation can generate required momentum to the economic activities, as already different trade regions in the world are on the path of progress by interlinking their economies.
He said the governments of both Pakistan and India should join hands with private sector of their respected sides to promote investment and business activities. He said the non oil producing countries like Pakistan and India are paying high price of abnormal rise in oil prices. This is the right time to look for regional cooperation to avoid negative impact of high oil prices on economies ahead, he added.
Salim said total trade among Eastern Europe states has reached to 27 percent against South Asia where regional trade is not more than one percent of total trade.
President ABF said both Pakistan and India should act prudently to tap the regional trade potential by mitigating bilateral political and cultural disputes. It is an irony that the business community of both countries faces problems in availing travel visas for each side. Particularly, he said, adding: There is a general impression that procedure for business visa is cumbersome due to non-cooperative behaviour of officials concerned.
Salim said both India and Pakistan can benefit from each other by promoting Joint Ventures in different areas of economy. He said the business community in Pakistan is in favour of extending status of Most Favoured National (MFN) to India provided the Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) are removed by India.
According to him, Pakistan has been demanding market access to the US throughout last decade while playing the role of frontline state in the war against terrorism. But the volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and US is not more than $4 billion. Salim said the volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and India could be many times higher than rest of the world provided that the political leadership is ready to forego decades old disputes and ready to work in the larger interest of commoners on both sides of the border.
President ABF expressed the hope that sanity would prevail and the political leadership of both Pakistan and India would not let the political disputes hamper business interests of their respective masses.