Islamabad: Secretary General, PML-Q and Chairman Pak-China Institute Mushahid Hussain Syed on Friday said the political consideration have remained one the biggest hurdles in the development of SAARC region which houses 22 per cent of the world population.
He said that the growth of the region has been projected to surpass 50 per cent of the world’s GDP by 2030 that calls for immediate steps by Pakistan to boost intra-regional trade lest we miss the boat.
Speaking at a seminar organized by SAARCH Chamber of Commerce to celebrate 26th SAARC Charter Day at a local hotel, he said that SAARC is the biggest trading block in the world with lowest level of trade.
Mushahid Hussain said that the contribution of South Asia in the Global GDP is less than 2 pc and its share in exports in only 1.5 pc, which does not reflect our true potential.
The pace of growth in SAARC region has been slower at 5 pc as compared with the other blocs like NAFTA, EU, ASEAN and COMESA, wherein intra-regional trade is estimated at 62 pc, 58pc, 28 pc and 22 pc respectively, Mushahid Hussain informed.
He said that for greater Asia we should enhance cooperation with China, Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Speaking on the occasion, Tariq Sayeed, VP, CACCI and former President Saarc CCI and FPCCI called upon framing new trade rules as existing set of rules are not encouraging businesses.
He said that cost of cross border trading in SAARC remained highest in the world while visa difficulties have become a Non-Tariff Barrier.
Free movement of businessmen can transform region into a block like EU where the people of 8-nations will remain in peace like as a family, said Tariq Sayeed adding that we have a shared history, shared culture and we deserve to have a shared future.
Tariq said that opening up of trade will not hurt will Pakistan, we should encourage business interests of India. Indian goods can be re-exported from Pakistan which will benefit all stakeholders, he said.
Our region has lost momentum but it has ability to bounce back as we have 45 pc of young population, 12 pc of the known global natural resources, and all prerequisites to become developed nations, the national business leader said.
Iftikhar Ali Malik, VP SAARC CCI, Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, President, FPCCI, SVP, ANP Haji Adeel, Secretary General Saarc CCI Iqbal Tabish, Mehfuzur Rehman, Deputy High Commissioner (DHC), Bangladesh, Gopal Baglay, DHC of India, Durga Prasad Bhindari, DHC of Nepal, and former MD ISE Aftab Chaudhary and others also spoke on the occasion.
They said that the purpose of SAARC is to ensure the welfare of almost two billion people. Recent series of dialogue between Pakistan and India is very encouraging for the whole region.
Trade expansion is the most straight way to ensure regional economic corporation which require collective and collaborative strategies and joint-ventures, the speakers stressed.
Present on the occasion were VPs FPCCI Fazal Elahi, Amir Atta Bajwa, Akbar Khan, Chairman Capital Office, Hameed Akhtar Chadda, Chairman Media FPCCI Malik Sohail Hussain, President Women’s Chamber Samina Fazil, Chairman SDC, Mian Akram Farid, Zubair Ahmed Malik, Akram Zaki, President Attock CCI, President Haripur CCI, and others.