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Pakistan, India should focus on removing non-tariff trade barriers: minister

ISLAMABAD, MAR 7 9DNA) – Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that Pakistan and India should focus on removal of non-tariff trade barriers in order to facilitate trade.The Minister was talking to the new Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Gautam Bambawale in Islamabad.The Minster said that the two countries should focus on visa facilitation for the business persons, enhance banking contacts and remove other non-tariff hindrances which retard the flow of trade under the existing regime.

The High Commissioner said that India has started issuing three-year multiple entry visas to Pakistani businessmen which will pave way for more frequent and enhanced business-to-business interaction.

The Minister said that last year Pakistani exhibition organized by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan in New Delhi was a resounding success and created awareness among Indian buyers about the fashion brands of Pakistan. Such exhibitions will be replicated in the future, he added.

Mr. Dastgir also held meeting with the Omer Zakhilwal, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan and discussed issues regarding bilateral and transit trade. The two sides agreed to hold a high level meeting involving all the stake-holders to discuss issues faced by traders of both countries at operational level.

The Minister said that Pakistan attaches high priority to the enhancement of regional trade and undertook several measures last year which resulted in increase in number of Afghan transit cargo over the past few months.

He said that the Gawadar-Chaman Road constructed under the CPEC will provide a short link to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries to access ports and enhance trade with the outside world.

Talking to the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Mr. Abdullah Marzouk Al-Zahrani, the Minister for Commerce said that the Pakistan will launch a grand marketing campaign in Saudi Arabia focusing of the huge South Asian diaspora and the native Saudi population to create awareness about Pakistani products.

Pakistan is planning to host a Saudi investors’ conference in Islamabad in order to apprise Saudi investors regarding the emerging business opportunities in Pakistan.

In his meeting with the Minister of Commerce, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Mr. Furkat Sidikov said that Uzbekistan would start direct passenger and cargo flights from Lahore to Tashkent twice a week from 20th July this year. This will promote the export of perishable goods especially bananas and mangoes which Uzbekistan used to import from Latin American countries could now be imported from Pakistan because of the availability of direct flights.

Sidikov said that Uzbekistan grows some finest quality cotton which could feed the sophisticated textile industry of Pakistan manufacturing their products for the high-end fashion consumers of the West. He said that Uzbekistan specializes in agricultural tools and machinery and will hold an exhibition this year in Lahore to display the whole range of its agri-machinery.=DNA

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