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Pakistan must expand trade with ICCIA members

By Our Correspondent
October 06, 2022

KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said there was need to expand trade with the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (ICCIA) that represents a collective GDP of $7 trillion.

FPCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh on Wednesday explained that the 57 member countries of ICCIA have huge demand for Pakistani products. He identified textiles; leather goods; rice, fruits and vegetables; IT services; and skilled and semi-skilled workforce having high demand in the ICCIA member countries. “We should capitalise on the opportunities to bridge our trade deficit of up to $4 billion / month, which is no more sustainable; exponentially increase remittances from Islamic countries, build foreign exchange reserves (FER) and, above-all, curtail current account deficit (CAD) decisively – which clocked at $17.4 billion in FY22,” he said.

ICCIA Secretary General Yousef Hasan Khalawi has visited FPCCI along with the senior members of the team, where he discussed the avenues to enhance and broaden trade promotion activities with Pakistan from the platform of FPCCI.

Khalawi said that he was looking forward to the participation of Pakistani business, industry and trade community in trade exhibitions and networking sessions in Makkah and Madina being organised by the ICCIA.

“We will also be expecting Pakistani delegations in Muslim Business Leaders’ summit in Malaysia and Sustainable Agriculture Forum in Azerbaijan,” he added.

FPCCI Senior Vice President Suleman Chawla said that being a country of 220 million people and an active member of ICCIA, representatives or nominees of FPCCI should be included in all major councils and committees of the Islamic chamber.

Pakistan holds enormous potential for new industries and joint ventures, and also has historically played a proactive role in the development and transformation of ICCIA, he added.

Former president of FPCCI, Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo said that Pakistan should be given preference in ICCIA’s IT, energy, food / agriculture, tourism, green economy and youth / skills development related activities and events.

He acknowledged that the “Best of Entrepreneurship Series” in Pakistan with collaboration of the Islamic Chamber has been highly successful. Three programmes have been conducted so far in 2022 and another one would be held in Pakistan in 2022.

He said the series would likely continues in 2023 and beyond, incorporating all major cities of the country.