Wednesday July 24, 2024

‘Pakistan can become regional trade hub’

June 17, 2024
SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s former president Iftikhar Ali Malik speaks during an event. — APP/File
SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s former president Iftikhar Ali Malik speaks during an event. — APP/File

LAHORE:Pakistan stands at a crucial juncture exploiting trade potential in Asia and fostering strong economic ties with neighbouring states can significantly speedup its economic growth.

SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s former President Iftikhar Ali Malik expressed these views while talking to a trade delegation, led by Muslim Khan Buneri here Sunday. He added that geographically, Pakistan is positioned to serve as a trade conduit between Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, making it an ideal hub for regional commerce. In order to harness this potential, he said, Pakistan must actively engage with countries like China, Iran, and Afghanistan.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship initiative that demonstrates the benefits of such cooperation, promising infrastructural development and increased trade flow. Similarly, enhancing trade relations with neighbours could unlock immense economic benefits, despite the political challenges. A focus on trade normalisation and tariff reduction can help the region tap into a market of over a billion people. He said Iran, with its rich energy resources, presents another promising trade partner. Strengthening trade ties with Iran could ensure energy security for Pakistan while providing Iran with much-needed economic diversification. Additionally, a stable Afghanistan opens up avenues for trade and transit routes to Central Asia, facilitating greater regional connectivity.

The European Union and the United States remain significant trade partners, especially for Pakistan’s textile and agricultural exports. Maintaining compliance with international trade regulations, ensuring quality standards, and fostering a stable business environment are crucial for sustaining these relationships. Malik said that Pakistan’s strategy should therefore be multifaceted: deepen regional trade ties while upholding Western trade partnerships.