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ISLAMABAD: Senior diplomats from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and senior business leaders on Wednesday expressed the need to re-evaluate the economic and trade relations between ASEAN and Pakistan in order to further enhance mutual economic and trade potential, which will open new avenues for economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

Direct air links to ASEAN countries and Pakistan in the near future, bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), trade dialogue and aggressive economic diplomacy, Business-to-Business (B2B) and Government-to-Government (G2G) cooperation, elevation from the sectoral to full dialogue partner, strong multilateral linkages between Institutions could pave new avenues for economic and trade cooperation, senior diplomats and business leaders give proposal during the round table dialogue jointly organized by Pakistan ASEAN, Business Forum and United Business Group (UBG) in Islamabad.

Under the auspices of Pakistan ASEAN Business Forum, Chairman ASEAN Islamabad Committee and Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Adam M Tugio participated in the forum as the chief guest and former president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce, Zafar Bakhtawari hosted the forum.

While senior business leaders from Pakistan and Ambassadors from ASEAN countries and Pakistan including Director General Foreign Office Amir Ahmad Ahtuzai, President United Business Group Zubair Tufail, President ICCI, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, Co-Chairman Pakistan ASEAN Friendship Association, Ahsan Bakhtawri, Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan Chakkrid Krachaiwong, Ambassador of Vietnam to Pakistan Nguyen Tiean Phong, Charge’de Affairs of Malaysia to Pakistan Deddy Faisal Ahmed Saleh, Minister Counsellor of Myanmar San You Kyaw, former presidents ICCI Mohsin Khalid and Ahmed Waheed, Senior Vice President LCCI Mian Rehman Aziz Chan , Senior Vice President, Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce Sadaf Asim Abbasi, Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry from Faisalabad Chamber and Noman Shamim expressing their views and called for enhancing bilateral economic and trade cooperation between ASEAN countries and Pakistan.

The speakers said that there has been a major policy breakthrough under the present Pakistan’s government, when the government has shifted its policy from geopolitical to geo-economic approach, which will further strengthen Pakistan’s economic and trade relations with the potential trading partner like ASEAN.

They said that relations between the two governments, business communities and the people-to-people contacts were considered important, as well as expanding bilateral trade in accordance with trade and economic capabilities and implementation of economic and trade policies and agreements.

While addressing the session Chairman ASEAN Islamabad Committee and Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Adam M Tugio said that in order to strengthen economic and trade ties between ASEAN and Pakistan, the relationship between the government, the business community and the people need to be re-established.

He said that Pakistan also has a free trade agreement with China and the same FTA has been signed between ASEAN and China from which both countries can benefit. He said that Pakistan and ASEAN need to work on more potential sectors and increase their regional approach for increasing bilateral trade in more sectors and increase their regional approach for bilateral trade.

On the occasion, Director General Foreign Office Amir Ahmad Datozi said that there are huge opportunities for Pakistan in the economies of ASEAN countries with a GDP of $ 3 trillion. He said the two sides are pursuing integrated policies on trade and economic relations, which are expected to yield good results in the near future.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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