LAHORE, Dec 22: Inadequate infrastructure is hampering growth in trade between Pakistan and India through land route.
This was consensus between Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) at a meeting here on Saturday.
Carrying a container through Mumbai-Dubai-Karachi costs many times more than doing so through Wagha, said FIEO President Rafique Ahmad and LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar.
They said that both the countries should not be overly-competitive, but they should explore ways and means to create synergies. Improved bilateral ties between India and Pakistan would give impetus to South Asia Free Trade Zone which would open vistas of opportunities for countries of the region.
FIEO President Rafique Ahmad said that India has been an opportunity for Pakistani businessmen and they should avail it.
He said that with the likely grant of the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status by Pakistan and phasing out of the negative list, bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is expected to rise to $6 billion in the next three years from the existing $2bn. About air link between the two sides, Mr Ahmad said that he would press upon the Indian government to open up more flights to Pakistan.
LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that cooperation between Pakistan and India in transfer of technology, raw materials, IT sector, tourism, agriculture and medical sciences could change the fate of the people living in the two countries.
He said that LCCI has been formulating a strategy keeping in view the position of Lahore in the days to come with regard to direct and greater trade between Pakistan and India, particularly through Wagha. “To ensure sustainable trade relations between two countries with the aim of having long term benefits of greater regional trade, both the sides need to supplement each other’s economies,” said Mr Iftikhar and added that areas of economic cooperation could mutually be identified which might lead to joint ventures, out-sourcing and sharing of technology.