SAARC nations must work together to push trade for prosperity
South Asian countries urgently need to work together with a “strong business agenda” in services trade as the SAARC region possess a huge potential to be fully exploited for promotion of trade to usher an era of progress, development and prosperity.
Talking to a visiting delegation of SAARC traders here on Monday ,Vice President SAARC Chamber, Iftikhar Ali Malik said that “SAARC countries must collaborate together with a very strong business agenda to take advantage of our geographical proximity, cultural similarities and economic complementary that we all have in this region,”
He said besides boosting trade, there is dire need to promote tourism in the region as there is much scope if this sector of tourism is exploited fully billions of rupees could be earned annually by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries.
He said Pakistan is looking at widening the ambit “so that we make these opportunities in our region a reality and improve the level of prosperity and economic development in this region”. There are other areas too that the SAARC countries should work on, such as formulating standards and working with different departments and states to improve ecosystem to boost services trade.
He urged the governments of SAARC member countries to adopt policies helpful pushing export sector in regional trade agreements while looking at issues of competitiveness across sectors in the form of reforms and liberalisation and focusing on the trade policy. The veteran trade leader said the challenge is to provide high-quality services at an affordable price. Life member SAARC Chamber Pervaiz Lala CEO Lala Frabrics was also present on the occasion.
He further said that the energy needs in the region are growing with each passing day. To bring sizeable population out of poverty net and achieve economic growth, countries need to work together to ensure universal access to sustainable and affordable energy, including optimisation of renewable energy potential in the region, measures to promote green energy, and establishment of regional energy grid.
While underlining the need for taking all possible measurers to alleviate poverty, hunger and conflicts suggested that the governments, academic institutions, and civil society organisations need to jointly work to prepare compendium of best policy frameworks/practices.
Highlighting importance of gender equality, Iftikhar Ali Malik said women must be involved at all the decision-making levels and processes to incorporate their perspectives and address their needs and vulnerabilities. “Furthermore, networks of expatriate South Asians can provide invaluable support in the form of financing, knowledge sharing and access to information and technology, which should be materialized,” he concluded.