Measures taken to
promote regional trade

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar said on Wednesday that the incumbent government was striving hard to promote and develop regional trade, particularly with Central Asian states by introducing modern trade and business technologies, besides facilitating the business communities across the region.

Addressing a three-day conference on “Peer Learning Initiatives, National Single Window Implementation and Management” organized by Pakistan Single Window in collaboration with Ready4Trade Central Asia (R4TCA) project, the minister said that the trading process could be eased by using the latest techniques.

The minister also expressed government’s commitment to deepen political, diplomatic, and trade relations with all neighboring countries.

It is pertinent to mention here that the event had brought together customs and trade experts from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to share their knowledge, experiences, and regional best practices for the development and implementation of the national single window.

The minister said that in order to enhance and further promote the trade ties with regional countries, government had finalized trade agreements with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, adding that agreements would also be made with other Central Asian Republics (CARs) including Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

He said that bilateral trade with Afghanistan witnessed significant increase, adding that it could be further intensified by facilitating and providing special incentives. He said that opportunities would also be explored to further enhance trade and commerce with Central Asian states.

Our ties with Central Asia go back several centuries and both regions have benefited from the free flow of idea, goods, and people across the international boundaries from ancient times, he said adding that government was also keen to revive ties through increased engagement at government to government and people to people levels, and by providing the enabling environment to promote regional trade and connectivity.

The minister further said that Pakistan Single Window was one of the most important reform initiatives to have been undertaken in the public sector, adding that once completed, the platform would integrate 77 government agencies, ministries and department in addition to private sector entities and service providers to provide all cross-border trade related services to the traders and other stakeholders on one single platform.

As part from the initiative, we are reviewing our entire trade regulatory framework and improving our business processes through business process re-engineering, identification and elimination of process; resource redundancies and digitization, he added.

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion representatives of the diplomatic core from Central Asian States stressed the need for rationalizing transportation cost of goods to make regional trade more beneficial, besides establishing banking network.
They also urged the need for facilitating trade by addressing the bottlenecks in border crossing and simplification of shipments clearance procedures. (APP)