ICCI calls for focusing on China for increased trade, exports


Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has called upon the government to reprioritise its traditional approach of “looking towards West and Europe for trade and exports” and divert more focus towards China as the latter “offers immense opportunities for promoting Pakistan’s commercial and economic interests”.

ICCI Acting President Shakeel Munir said Friday that bilateral trade between India and China had surpassed $65 billion during 2013 while Pakistan’s trade with China was hovering around $10 to $12 billion.

He said that though Pakistan and China signed a Free Trade Agreement in November 2006 in addition to finalising almost 358 joint agreements, MoUs, joint declarations and arrangements covering almost every sector of economy, “the necessary measures could not be taken to fully materialise these agreements due to which Pak-China trade is still far below the desired level”.

He said Pakistan has the capacity for export of various products to China including agriculture, minerals, chemical, textiles and leather products. “Besides, Pakistan has comparative advantage of oil seeds, fruits, base metals, plastic goods and perfumery etc,” he said, stressing that the government should accelerate efforts to facilitate entrepreneurs in promoting trade with China.

He said Pakistan should encourage and facilitate its private sector in establishing joint ventures with Chinese counterparts in energy, textile, agro-farming, food processing, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods and other areas of potential cooperation. He said China could also help Pakistan in developing and modernizing its Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector.

He said strategic partnerships with China including the Economic Corridor would provide a good platform to strengthen relations with China.

“Given the evolving international dynamics and China’s rise as a major global power, it is important for Pakistan to reassess and review the strengths and challenges of its relationship with China in order to move forward in a positive manner,” said the ICCI acting president.