ISLAMABAD: South Asia has tremendous trade potential which needs to be tapped for greater economic integration, however core trade issues must be addressed and Pakistan’s role in this regard would be vital as prosperity is not possible without restoring peace in the region, Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Ruwan Edirisinghe said on Saturday.
Mr Edirisinghe expressed these views during a meeting with a delegation of prominent Pakistani trade leaders led by Saarc Chamber’s Senior Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik.
“Saarc should be more active to address major challenges faced by the region, job creation for the youth of South Asia — our region’s biggest asset — and alleviation of poverty,” Mr Edirisinghe noted.
Mr Edirisinghe said that initiatives may be taken to utilise the potential of cooperation in the areas of tourism and energy of the region.
Stressing on ensuring trade facilitation in the region, he said that problems regarding South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) visa sticker, removal of trade barriers including NTMs, acceptance of standard certificate, limitations of infrastructure in the land ports, etc. should be addressed.
Mr Malik expressed hope that all Saarc members under Mr Edirisinghe leadership would resolve trade related issues and realise that over the next 10 years, countries in Asia would play a competitive role in competing with each other or in parallel.
He also assured him full support from Pakistan to the chamber and emphasised on restructuring production and export processes to improve trans-boundary trade in South Asia.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2019