'Lack of regional trade a major cause of economic crisis'.

TOBA TEK SINGH -- As the regional trade is prerequisite to pull Pakistan out of economic crisis, the government should not waste time and restore bilateral trade with all neighbouring countries, including India and Iran.

'Buying power of America and Europe is declining with the global meltdown and in this situation we must explore new and non-traditional markets to improve export volume,' says Arif Ihsan Malik, former chairman of the All Pakistan Bedsheets and Upholstery Manufacturers Association, while addressing a meeting in Faisalabad on Saturday.

He said the absence of regional trade was one of the major causes of our current economic mess and asked the private sector to raise voice against this glaring anomaly which was also promoting cross-border smuggling.

He said that we must take economic decisions strictly in order to protect our national interests instead of bowing down before foreign pressure.

He said that the government should also focus on restoring peace in Afghanistan so that we could start trade with landlocked Central Asian States to enhance our overall trade volume.

He also stressed the need to explore the markets of far-eastern countries.

'Currently, some of these countries have imposed 20 to 30 per cent duties on Pakistani products', he said and regretted it was due to the reason that we were not a member of the ASEAN bloc.

He said though India and Vietnam were also not part of this bloc, they enjoyed preferential trade cover as their governments had inked different agreements.

'Pakistan should also negotiate and get maximum relief for exports to these countries.'

Ihsan Malik underlined the importance of recycled products at the global level and said that Pakistan's cottage industry was manufacturing a wide range of recycled products but they lacked certification and other facilities to export these products.


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