ICCI calls for focusing on ASEAN region to promote exports

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ISLAMABAD, OCT 27 /DNA/ – Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that ASEAN has emerged as the 5th largest economy in the world with an overall GDP of over USD 3 trillion and Pakistan should focus on this potential region for promoting trade and exports. He said this while addressing a roundtable organized by Pakistan-ASEAN Business Forum. Zubair Tufail President United Business Group, Zafar Bakhtawari Secretary General UBG, Ambassadors of ASEAN countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar & Brunei,Amer Ahmed Atozai Director General Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others attended the Forum.

ShakeelMunir said that the current level of two-way annual tradebetween Pakistan and ASEAN was around US$7 billion, which could be further increased with greater efforts from both sides.He said that with almost 1 billion people of ASEAN, there was huge scope for Pakistan to enhance its economic engagement with this rising economic block for achieving beneficial results for its economy. He stressed that Pakistan should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations to improve business linkages with ASEAN countries.He said that Pakistan shouldalso invite ASEAN countries to participate in CPEC projects and invest in its Special Economic Zones. He emphasized that Pakistan should accelerate efforts to become a Full Dialogue Partner (FDP)of ASEAN that would be a win-win arrangementfor both sides as Pakistan would be the only FDP of ASEAN, which would also be a member of SAARC, ECO and SCO.

ICCI President urged that Pakistan should strengthen its connectivity with ASEAN in all domains including transportation,communication, cyber and ports. This soft and hard connectivity will be mutually beneficial for Pakistan, ASEAN and even regions like Central and West Asia that are close to Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has good potential to enhance cooperation with ASEAN countries in many fields including tourism,science &technology, IT, higher education etc. He stressed that Pakistan should develop cultural exchanges and people to people contacts with ASEAN countries that will help generate better awareness about potential areas of mutual cooperation.

ZubairTufail President, Zafar BakhtawariSecretary General of United Business Group, Ambassadors of ASEAN countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar & Brunei,Amer Ahmed AtozaiDirector General Ministry of Foreign Affairs also addressed the forum and highlighted the importance of enhancing Pakistan’s engagement with ASEAN countries.