Stating that trade-related exchanges lead to establishment of people-to-people contact and enhances mutual understanding, peace and harmony, Gulzar Singh Ranike, minister for fisheries, poultry and animal husbandry, formally inaugurated the five-day Punjab International Trade Expo on its second day on Friday.
Sharad Jaipuria, president of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The members of PHD Chamber are quite optimistic that consistent effort to boost bilateral trade may see future collaborations by allowing mutual transit rights to each other.”
“India could gain rights to access Afghanistan through Pakistan,” he added.
He said the PHD Chamber had been closely working with various Industry Chambers of Pakistan and holding talks for developing harmonious relations and inviting them to interact with the Indian industry associations, besides organising exclusive Indo-Pak trade shows in Ludhiana and Shimla.
“Back to back visits by Indian delegations to Pakistan and vice-versa would help in pushing trade talks to the next level,” reiterated Rajiv Bali, chairman, Punjab Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi, vice-president and leader of the delegation from the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed that the governments of both the nations should sit together and resolve the issues and an arrangement should be made under which the political pressures didn’t affect the trade in the region.
Ghaznavi said traders from both India and Pakistan were keen to start a new trade regime and minimise non-tariff barriers. He said the objective of the delegation was to explore new trade avenues between India and Pakistan and see them as routine international trade partners, said a press release issued by the PHD Chamber.
Naeem Anwar, minister (trade), Pakistani high commission, said the kind of growth seen in the bilateral trade in the last 4-5 years could not happen in the last 60 years. He owed the growth to the new visa policy for businessmen by virtue of which they could get multiple visas for up to 10 cities.
The Pak minister urged the industry minister Madan Mohan Mittal to make concerted efforts to allow investment from Pakistan in India and vice-versa. “If the Indian products are manufactured in Pakistan and the Pakistani products in India, it can open trade routes up to Central Asia and South Asia,” said Anwar.
“Three reasons restrict trade between India and Pakistan — restrictions on the movement of businessmen, which could be eased through liberalised visa regime; delays in customs clearance, which could be resolved by keeping a positive mindset towards each other; and lack of product and sector specific approach, which was necessary to boost the trade volume,” he pointed out.