Gujarat Chamber chief says joint efforts can immensely increase trade.
Trade between the neighbours should be maximised and the business communities should unite to work more closely with each other, said SGCCI India President. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID.
President of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) India, Kamlesh Yagnik, has said it is possible to enhance the existing $2 billion trade volume to $25 billion in the next 10 years through collective efforts of business communities of Pakistan and India.
“I am confident it can be achieved through collective efforts of the business communities and governments of both countries,” Yagnik said during a visit to the head office of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
He added the two countries were doing trade through three channels – direct trade, circular trade and informal trade. The direct trade includes legal channels and other formal ways while circular trade involves Indian export products available in other countries which are imported by Pakistan.
He said the sizeable informal trade between Pakistan and India required serious attention from both governments as it affected those who traded legally and paid all taxes.
“Collective efforts must be made by the governments and business communities to reduce this informal trade, which, if addressed, will certainly pave the way for improved trade relations, besides ensuring substantial economic growth,” Yagnik said.
Trade between the neighbours should be maximised and the business communities should unite to work more closely with each other, he suggested.
Highlighting some obstacles to liberal trade, Yagnik assured the businessmen that his association would prepare an elaborate report and send it to the authorities in India for a review.
Commenting on India’s most-favoured nation (MFN) status, he said “it will help increase formal trade and result in taking the existing trade volume to new highs.”
He also suggested that instead of trading in dollars, a currency swap agreement should be signed by both governments that would prove favourable for them.
KCCI President Abdullah Zaki and SGCCI President Kamlesh Yagnik signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for strengthening cooperation between the two chambers.
Yagnik said the MoU would pave the way for solid relations between Karachi and Gujarat. Former KCCI president Siraj Kassam Teli said the Karachi Chamber had been trying and would continue to strive to improve trade relations between India and Pakistan.
“Instead of leaving the task to the governments and bureaucracies, the business communities of both countries must come forward and lead the way by enhancing trade and business relations,” said Teli.
“Enhanced trade with India will trigger competition in this region, resulting in further improvement in the quality of Pakistani products and services so that they could efficiently compete with their Indian counterparts,” he said.
Additionally, Pakistan would get an opportunity to penetrate the huge Indian market representing a population of 1.3 billion.
Commenting on India’s MFN status, Teli said it was high time to grant MFN status to India but unfortunately it was being delayed due to some bureaucratic hurdles on both sides.
KCCI President Zaki urged both governments to ease visa restrictions, improve roads and railway infrastructure, tackle issues of non-tariff barriers, set up investment and banking channels and open some crossing points for trade.
He said economic relations between the two countries were stabilising and growing at a faster pace but more needed to be done to build confidence.