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LCCI holds seminar on Pros and Cons of Trade Relations with India.

LAHORE -- Rigorous assessment of cost and benefits was the only way to take a decision in regard to trade with India, former Federal Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan said here Tuesday.

He was addressing a seminar, "The Pros and Cons of Trade Relations with India" jointly organized by Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR) and Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Chairman Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR) and the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz, Adviser IPR Dr. Manzoor Ahmad and Convener LCCI Standing Committee on Pak-India Trade Aftab Ahmad Vohra were prominent among others.

Humayun Akhter Khan said that normal trade with India had been under discussion for many years, adding that this mattter has to be brought to a logical end by weighing prose and cons of the trade to bring all stakeholders on common ground.

The fits and starts nature of relationship finds reflection in conflicting trends, he said.

IPR Chairman said that on one hand, Pakistan and India did not have normal trade relations but on the other hand, both the countries were members of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and this apparent incongruity reflected the reality of our bilateral relations.

Decision on trade with India, therefore, must harmonize among security,

economic, and trade interests. Recently, IPR examined overall developments in South and Central Asia and recognized that there were risks to our security. He advised policy makers to consider an incremental approach and distinguish among normal trade, and opening of land and transit routes.

He said that this IPR-LCCI event would examine economic and trade

enefits and risks. IPR expected that such discussion would help policymakers take a decision.

The LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that trade normalization between

India and Pakistan was not as simple as it seemed to be, as there were a number of factors that determined these bilateral trade relations. "We are in favour of it but it has to be done very carefully. We do not fear to compete with India in a free trade regime but before opening borders, we must have a well thought out plan which is to be finalized in consultation with private sector," he maintained.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that Lahore Chamber has especially partnered with

Institute for Policy Reforms with a view to hold a debate to see the possibilities of increasing direct trade between two countries.

He said that indirect trade was taking place between Pakistan and India via third destination which not only added to shipment cost but also stretched lead time. He said, "We have to find ways to mitigate the adverse effects of tariff and non-tariff barriers."

Dr. Manzoor listed the specific risks and benefits of trade with India. He said that developing economies that were globally integrated experience sustained growth. Over 60 percent of global trade took place via supply chains of MNCs who made their buying decisions in all parts of the world.

Aftab Vohra Head of LCCIs Pakistan India Trade Committee relied on extensive personal experience of trading on Pakistans land border with India. He said that Pakistan businesses and consumers would benefit greatly by opening trade route. It would help both exports from Pakistan and imports from India. He dwelled on the need for improved trade facilitation and logistics to facilitate traders. Specifically, he called on a single point customs check by customs authorities of both countries. He said that political differences must not impede trade interests and cited many examples of regional economic growth through trade across borders.
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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 8, 2015
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