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LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster stronger trade relations, here at PCMEA office on Sunday.

The agreement was signed during a visit by LCCI President Kashif Anwar to the PCMEA where the association’s Senior Vice Chairman Usman Ashraf welcomed him. Kashif Anwar also visited the Carpet Training Institute (CTI) and observed the intricate process of handcrafting carpets.

During the visit, LCCI President Kashif Anwar highlighted the importance of robust trade relations between various trade organisations and chambers. He emphasised the need for effective collaboration in an ever-evolving global economic landscape.

Kashif Anwar noted the increase in business costs, particularly related to utilities. However, he expressed optimism that the stability of the Pak rupee would contribute to a more favourable business environment. He underscored that continued government policies in the same vein would further strengthen the rupee’s value.

The LCCI president said that it was imperative to reduce input costs and utility prices for exports to thrive. He underlined the significance of fostering a strong partnership between the business community and the government, adding that a stronger rupee is crucial for boosting exports as majority of the raw materials, including those used for export products are being imported from various countries and a weak currency is not suitable for exports, as well.

Kashif Anwar said that construction of the Kalabagh Dam is indispensable, arguing that its absence puts the nation’s future at risk. He called for a shift toward Islamic banking and a move away from interest-based economic models, emphasizing that business interests should be prioritised.

The LCCI president concluded that the MoU signing between the Lahore Chamber and PCMEA was a significant step toward enhancing trade relationships and addressing pertinent issues faced by businesses, particularly in the context of rising costs and currency stability. This development holds the promise of further strengthening Pakistan’s position in international trade markets and fostering economic growth, he added.

On this occasion, Usman Ashraf noted the significance of the handcrafting of rugs, particularly in rural areas, as a source of employment for millions of individuals and a valuable contributor to the nation’s foreign exchange reserves. He claimed that the vital industry was often overlooked.

Usman Ashraf believed that the MoU signed between the Lahore Chamber and PCMEA would serve as a platform to effectively convey concerns and recommendations to government forums and relevant institutions. He also highlighted the challenges posed by rising production costs, fluctuations in the value of the dollar, and an unstable economy. These factors have made it challenging for exporters to compete in the global market, he maintained.

CTI Chairman Ijaz-ur-Rehman, Senior Central Leader Abdul Latif Malik, Shahid Hasan Sheikh, Major (Retd) Akhtar Nazir, Saeed Khan, Mian Atiq-ur-Rehman, Sheikh Mobsher Iqbal, Muhammad Akbar Malik, and Faisal Saeed Khan were present.

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