KARACHI, Jan 7: The nations in the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) should have a common currency in line with the European Union (EU) which has euro as a common currency for trade among member states.

These views were expressed by the president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Senator Haji Ghulam Ali during a press conference at the Federation House here on Saturday.

He said without forging a regional cooperation, economic development could not be achieved by the Asian countries, particularly South Asia.

The Senator said that Europe after achieving development heights is now experiencing slowdown in economic activity and contrary to this, China is moving faster to become economic power of the world.

He further stated that now trade and economic development is taking place in Asian countries and for availing this opportunity, Saarc member states should shun petty issues and move forward for fostering trade and economic cooperation for the benefit of their masses.

If Europe has immensely benefited from common currency, why Saarc and Asean member states could not drive similar fruits and attain rapid economic growth for their people, he added.

Senator Haji Ghulam Ali said time has come that Saarc member states should concentrate on development and regional cooperation.

The FPCCI president said that Pakistan should give India the status of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) because under World Trade Organisation (WTO) each member state has to give this status and India has already given this status to Pakistan.

Under MFN, no duties or taxes are imposed on bilateral trade between the two countries.

However, since Pakistan has not given MFN status to India, the later has imposed non-tariff barriers (NBTs) and goods moving from Wagha/Attari border have to get certificate from Mumbai and similarly exporters have to face lengthy and cumbersome procedures laid down by the Indian Standard Bureau.

Senator Haji Ghulam Ali stressed the need for expediting the process of regional cooperation so that economic benefits could tickle down to poor masses of South Asia.

He was of the opinion that Pakistan would benefit the most for having cheapest labour.

He said presently labour cost in Pakistan is $1.5 and worldwide average is $5 to $6.

For attracting investment, he said, Pakistan would have to overcome energy crisis and improve law and order situation for creating a healthy environment for investors, particularly when many countries are passing through transitional period in the light of Arab Spring.

He further stated that Central Asian Countries have a lot of opportunity and once regional cooperation is achieved, Pakistan could directly export goods to these states.

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