LAHORE: At least 177 Pakistani traders and industrialists crossed Wagha border in order to attend a trade fair in Amritsar and visit other Indian cities including Delhi and Agrah.
Traders and industrialists will interact with their counterparts in India to enhance bilateral trade.
“India and Pakistan should give peace a chance to improve their bilateral relationship and give boost to trade and industry. We have many things in common. Pakistani products including cloth and other products are better in quality than Indian products. India can be a bigger market for Pakistani products,” wife of Lahore Chamber of Commerce President Sohail Lashari said.
“Indian culture is penetrating in Pakistan through Indian dramas and films. Indian government should also allow Pakistani films and dramas which are far better in quality and content to be exhibited there,” she added.
The major hurdle in the way of development of Indo–Pak trade ties has been the non-tariff barriers. Pakistan and India have time and again talked of removing these barriers for the last many years but of no avail.
“I will be streamlining trade barriers in India and convey to the Indian top officials to do the needful. Customs officials on both sides should also play their role in this regard,” India-Pakistan trade promotion chairman Aftab Vohra said.
He said that by removing these non-tariff barriers Pakistani trade with India can be enhanced by $2.3 billion.
“India has been making headway in chemical sector. It has become one of the major exporters of chemical-made products. It will be very much beneficial for us to strong mutual trade ties. We are only 20 million in number while they are 120 million and can be the biggest market for our products,” a trader of cosmetic products, Khawaja Khawar Rasheed, said.
The trade delegates will attend two-day Punjab International Trade Expo 2013 (PITEX 2013) at Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar, then they would leave for two-day tour of Delhi to have meeting with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). Finally the delegation will visit Agrah to have a meeting with Agrah Chamber of Commerce and Industry office-bearers.
“One-to-one meeting of India and Pakistan traders will certainly bring out positive results,” Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) president Lashari said adding that businessmen of both the sides will come in direct contact with one another which will have long term fruitful impact on the bilateral trade between the two countries afterwards.
Engineer Sohail Lashari stressed the need for promoting border trade particularly through land routes which is in favour of both the countries. He said that the potential gains from increased economic integration between India and Pakistan are large whereas mutual trade between the two countries is unnaturally small.
“Further efforts to facilitate and increase trade can become an effective tool to promote relations. Pakistan’s major exports to India include vegetables, fruits & nuts, sugar, confectionery, mineral fuels, salt etc., but these exports form a very insignificant proportion of India’s imports of these commodities,” he said.
LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar, Executive Committee Members Mudassar Masood Chaudhry, Zeeshan Khalil, Raja Hamid Riaz, Maqsood Ahmad Butt, Talha Tayyab Butt and Saeeda Nazar were prominent among the delegates.