ISLAMABAD, Nov 13: The Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has stressed upon the governments of Pakistan and India to sign bilateral investment treaty to foster economic cooperation between the two countries.

“The investment treaty will also motivate other countries of the region to promote intra-regional trade and investment,” SCCI president Tariq Sayeed said while addressing the inaugural session of the “Conference on Pakistan-India Economic Relations” being held in India.

According to a SCCI press release received here on Thursday, the conference has been organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The SCCI president stressed the need for promoting mobility of people, particularly business community of the region and urged upon the governments of the two countries to issue five years multiple visa for 500 businessmen.

He said the number of Saarc Visa Exemption Stickers should be increased from 100 to 300.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian State Minister for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh said that the Indian government was trying its best to remove Non-Tariff Trade Barriers (NTBs), which had been identified by various countries.

He said that India had no country-specific restrictions, adding that the only noteworthy NTB was the requirement of certification of standardisation of products imported into India.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Shahid Malik said that Pakistan was willing to established lasting economic cooperation with India based on sincerity and reciprocity.

He said that Pakistan had adopted positive approach to promote trade relations with India, which could be quantified by the increasing volume of trade between two countries.

FPCCI president Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh who led Pakistan’s delegation in his detailed presentation identified areas of cooperation such as iron and steel, tea, leather and textiles and energy.

The newly elected President of India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, S. M. Muneer, in his speech emphasised the need for greater economic cooperation to unleash the untapped potential.

FICCI senior vice-president Singhania in his welcome address presented 10-point agenda to enhance economic cooperation. He said trade volume of $2 billion through legal channel and that of $5 billion through third country was reflective of potential of trade between Pakistan and India.

Dr Amit Mitra, the secretary-general of the FICCI and eminent economist inaugurated the inaugural session. A delegation of 75 leading businessmen from Pakistan is participating in the conference.

NON-TARIFF BARRIERS: Talking to APP in New Delhi Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh urged Indian government to remove non-tariff barriers on Pakistani goods to provide a level-playing in trade. He said negotiations for the purpose were in progress.

He said that major trading items between the two countries were cement and cotton.

He hoped that talks on liberalising visa policy for businessmen would succeed and the trading community would be able to get five-year multiple visa to visit each other’s country.

Mr Sheikh said Pakistan would participate in Indian International Trade Fair in a big way, beginning here on Friday. The fair would help Pakistan to introduce its products to Indian businessmen.—APP