(3 August, 2018)
President; Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and Former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the portion of regional trade is 3.57 percent which is just $29 billion in the total global trade of $815 billion in 2016 four neighboring countries including Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and India, which is thought provoking. Despite trade preferential agreement with Iran and trade agreements with India and Afghanistan the total regional trade as of 2016 stood at mere 6 percent.
The veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that Pakistan’s trade relations with neighboring countries are weak which need to strengthen. Due to disturbed relations with India, the two leading economies of the SAARC countries have a weak trade relation. Pakistan share friendly relations with Iran and has actively defended Iran’s interests in the days of US ban on Iran but this too could not develop active trade ties between the two countries. Afghanistan is highly dependent on Pakistani ports with respect to international trade and is a major export destination for Pakistan but the cross boarder terrorism largely affects the regional trade between the countries.
The Former Minister said that Pakistan exports limited items to Indian including scrap iron, steel, dates and mineral but if the Kashmir dispute is being resolved, there lies huge trade and agriculture cooperation potential between the countries. Pak-Iran trade has been reduced post 2010, though Iran cannot provide much of Pakistan’s industrial imports due to weak industrial sector but crude oil trade can be increased. Pakistan’s exports to Iran include rice and textile made-up.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Afghanistan is the Country with lowest economy in the World and the most war effective one. There is preferential trade agreement between the countries but Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan have been gradually replaced by Iran and India. The total trade between the countries in 2016 stood at mere $1.74 billion which was just 26.7 percent of Afghanistan total imports within the period. The newly elected Government of Pakistan should form long lasting revolutionary policies to bring strength to the regional trade between the neighboring countries and the Country can attain the economic stability.