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KARACHI: President FPCCI Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has said that 57-country alliance of Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA) represented an enormous collective GDP of US seven trillion dollars and that makes it the most significant alliance for Pakistan to enhance its exports, attract FDI and remittances.

According to details received, he was representing Pakistan at the 38th General Assembly of the alliance to discuss issues of trade, investments, economy and B2B relations.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the trade between OIC countries stands at only 17.5 percent while for other alliances like EU, it is 55 percent and for NAFTA, it is 58 percent.

He added that all ICCIA countries should work towards enhancement of trade to capitalise on mutual strengths. He also attended the 33rd Board of Directors meeting of ICCIA.

FPCCI chief has pointed out that Pakistan should focus on enhancing its exports to OIC countries in value-added textiles, leather products, footwear, handicrafts, sports goods, pharmaceuticals, surgical goods, gems & jewellry, rice, fruits and vegetables and construction materials.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh emphasised that Pakistan should capitalise on people-to-people, business-to-business and chamber-to-chamber contacts; and, translate them into government-to-government contacts aimed at increasing trade, investment and economic cooperation tangibly.

FPCCI president pointed out that one of the most pivotal opportunities with ICCIA countries for Pakistan is to export skilled and semi-skilled human resources to these countries and there is a potential to export as many as 1 to 2 million additional HR to these countries.

Sheikh also expressed his profound concern over the increasing energy and power prices in Pakistan and sought assistance from the oil-rich and economically sound brotherly Islamic countries to come forward and help Pakistan in this hour of need as they have done on many critical occasions in the past.

He stated that Pakistan is directly affected by any social or economic issues faced by Afghanistan and Muslim Ummah should collectively help Afghanistan to come out of food shortages, meet healthcare needs, tackle unemployment, build basic infrastructure and create enabling environment for economic growth.

Sheikh has proposed that OIC should organise trade fairs and exhibitions at various levels, i.e. across ICCIA, single-country exhibitions and sectorial fairs as well.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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