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Seminar held on SAFTA

Daily Times, Pakistan

Seminar held on SAFTA

Staff Report

18 June 2006

Karachi: The SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) organized a seminar on SAFTA, Expanding Business Opportunities in Karachi on the occasion of Seventh SAARC trade fair.

The seminar was organized in collaboration with Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (FPCCI) & Industry and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Chaudhry Mohammad Saeed, President FPCCI inaugurated the seminar and said the seventh SAARC Trade Fair is providing good opportunities for SAARC exporters to attend this mega exhibition. SAARC trade fair series have been playing a useful and catalytic role in promoting intra regional trade and commercial operation.

Waqar Ahmad, Program Coordinator SCCI, said SAFTA is a promising agreement between the SAARC country members that holds the potential to increase intra-regional growth in South Asia.

Amirullah Khan, PHDCCI, New Delhi, SAFTA will not go far if it continues to focus on tariff reductions in manufactured products. Even if this is an important issue today, it will be irrelevant soon. The focus ought to shift to cross border movements of labour and capital, trade facilitation, double tax avoidance, investment agreements and cross border liberalisation of services. (FTAs) Free Trade Agreements alone are not enough, what needs to be in place a (CECA) Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

Raja Srivastava, Regional Director Engineering Export Promotion Council of India, briefed the house about achievements that India has made in export of engineering goods, services and projects and also how SAARC as a regional trading block can come on the global scenario and increase the trade among them. SAARC with 21% of global population offers great trade opportunities amongst SAARC nation. India’s global engineering exports are to the tune of US $ 19.183 billion.

Huma Fakhar, Reputed Trade Lawyer said the negotiation economy of SAFTA should catch up with the business economy on ground. Currently SAFTA is far behind the business needs. Two factors that could move SAFTA is: First: identifying revealed competitive advantage in sectors like T&C sector. Secondly, creating a trade corridor for South Asia will also be a very forthcoming factor to move SAFTA in the right direction.

Sectoral session was chaired by Akbar Abdullah, Vice President-FPCCI and Amjad Rafi, Executive Committee member of SCCI .