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FPCCI upbeat on improved intra-regional trade expectations?

Islamabad: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Sunday said intra-regional trade will get a boost when government reduce trade barriers later this month.

It will bring a major change in the region which will have a positive impact on the lives of tens of millions of people, it said.

Currently, all the major political parties and chambers of commerce are supporting trade liberalization with India for which the national business leaders initiated efforts decades back, said Tariq Mehmood, Director Pak-UK Business Council and Chairman FPCCI Committee on Health.

Speaking to the business community, he said that worries regarding Indian products flooding Pakistani markets are mostly baseless which amounts to underestimating resilience of the local businessmen.

Vice President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce Iftikhar Ali Malik who has played a primary role to make enhanced trade a reality believes that Pakistani business community has the ability to adjust and benefit from cheap Indian imports, he said.

Tariq Mehmood said that after December 31, the Pakistani exports of fashion apparel, bed wear, home textiles, and cement etc. will gain increased access to a much larger Indian market while importers will save transport costs to benefit masses.He said that apprehensions among some of the manufacturers have been addressed by the government anti-dumping laws and countervailing duties that can be imposed on imports in violation of laws.

Similarly, fears in the agricultural sector are due to lack of information as lower priced Indian agricultural products will benefit producers as well as masses.

Tariq Mehmood who is also former president of the Attock Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that half of our agricultural incomes come from the livestock sector which will face no competition.

Producers of major crops will not be affected, rather it will augment overall supply. Likewise, vegetable imports and exports will help the two countries balance gap between supply and demand.The liberalised trade will help reduce Pakistan’s food import bill from current USD 5 billion.He called upon government to initiate efforts to further educate stakeholders and strive for improvement of infrastructure and customs facilities to properly handle trade between two countries.

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