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KARACHI: Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), has said that Pakistan needs to expand and enrich its trade promotion activities with the 57-member alliance of Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (ICCIA) – which collectively represents a GDP of $7 trillion.

In a message, he explained that these countries have huge demand for Pakistani textiles, leather goods, rice, fruits & vegetables, IT services, skilled & semi-skilled workforce, and we should capitalize on the opportunities to bridge our trade deficit of up to $4 billion/ month, which is no more sustainable.

He said we should exponentially increase remittances from Islamic countries, build foreign exchange reserves (FER) and, above-all, curtail current account deficit (CAD) decisively – which clocked at $17.4 billion in FY22.

It is pertinent to note that the secretary general of all too powerful ICCIA visited FPCCI along with the senior members of team and discussed the avenues to enhance & broaden trade promotion activities with Pakistan from the platform of FPCCI – which is the apex body of the country, representing approximately 250 chambers, trade bodies and associations.

Yousef Hasan Khalawi, Secretary General of ICCIA, said that he is looking forward to the participation of Pakistani business, industry and trade community in trade exhibitions & networking sessions in Makkah & Madina being organized by ICCIA. We will also be expecting Pakistani delegations in Muslim Business Leaders’ summit in Malaysia, and Sustainable Agriculture Forum in Azerbaijan, he added.

Suleman Chawla, Senior Vice President of FPCCI maintained that being a country of 220 million people and an active member of ICCIA, representatives or nominees of FPCCI should be included in all major councils & committees of the Islamic chamber.

Pakistan has lot to offer as it has diverse & strategically-significant borders: 65 percent of the population is young, there is enormous potential for new industries & JVs and the country has historically played a proactive role in the development & transformation of ICCIA in a very effective institution, he added.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, immediate Past President of FPCCI, said that Pakistan should be given preference in ICCIA’s IT, energy, food/ agriculture, tourism, green economy and youth/ skills development related activities and events. He acknowledged that the “Best of Entrepreneurship Series” in Pakistan with collaboration of Islamic Chamber has been highly successful.

Three programs have been conducted so far in 2022 and another one will be held in Pakistan in 2022; and, expected that the series continues in 2023 and beyond, incorporating all major cities of the country other than Karachi & Lahore.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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