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Trade, investment Promotion inevitable for Economic Integration of SAARC: President

International News Online

Trade, investment Promotion inevitable for Economic Integration of SAARC: President

3 July 2008

ISLAMABAD: "Enhancement of trade and investment is inevitable for economic integration of SAARC, where enormous potential already exits in areas of trade, investment and services, which need to be tapped in true perspective through pooling up resources and synergizing efforts at Government and Public sector level".

This was stated by Mr. Tariq Sayeed, President SAARC who was addressing on session "Trade and Investment Opportunities in SAARC" at Sri Economic Summit-2008 on 3rd July 2008 organized by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

He regarded investment as a tool to develop trade and economy of the country, quoting example of China where FDI played a crucial role to transform China into an economic Giant." Revolutionary export growth from only $ 850 million in 1950 to over $ 1 trillion was the phenomenal out come of FDI in flowed in China. However, he said that intra-regional investment in SAARC can not be flourished until unless the member nations of SAARC do not sign bilateral investment treaties. He emphasized on the Governments of Pakistan and India to sign bilateral investment treaty, which will encourage investment and motivate other countries to effectively contribute in intra-regional investment.

President SAARC CCI said that united India had been the world’s leading region in terms of its contribution towards World’s GDP, which was 22.6 percent of global GDP in the year 1700 as compared to 23.3 per cent of entire Europe" and one Indian Rupee at that time was equivalent to 3 USA Dollar. But due to misuse of resources and involvement in the non-productive issues i.e. political mayhem, the share of whole South Asian region, presently, accounted for only 1.5% of the Global GDP.

"The potential of intra-regional trade can be tapped by implementing SAFTA in letter and spirit, which is the only available document that provides a tangible road map to achieve the objectives for which SAARC was created" said President SAARC CCI and added that that without removal of the irritants like TBTs, NBTs and Para-tariff barriers, trade would not grow and to mitigate such issues, the respective Governments of all member nations were required to play their role as facilitator so as the commercial activities could be promoted effectively in the region.

Mr. Tariq Sayeed said that after inclusion of Services in SAFTA, the sphere of investment has been widened manifold and identified several sectors, having great potential for trade and investment through Joint ventures which include textiles and apparel, Information technology, tourism, Banking and Finance, value added products in food processing, infra-structure development, higher education, construction, light engineering, telecommunication, health etc. He said that infra-structure development was necessarily required but firstly there is an earnest need to identify mode of transportation as the region has all means of transportation.

Earlier Hon’ble Professor G L Pieris, Minister of Export Development & International Trade, Sri Lanka inaugurating the session that the Government of Sri Lanka had embarked upon highly liberalized policy, which had helped in attracting FDI. He invited the private sector of the region to exploit the facility of Sri Lanka to have zero- rated access to European market and said that sectors like Textiles and Cement had great potential for exporters of the region.