'SAARC Cham­ber com­mit­ted for greater eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion'

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - IS­LAM­ABAD -APP

Pres­i­dent SAARC Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try Su­raj Vaidya on Tues­day re­it­er­at­ing his pledge to take con­crete and re­sult -ori­ented steps for greater eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion by fully ex­ploit­ing all indige­nous nat­u­ral re­sources for the progress, pros­per­ity, de­vel­op­ment and wel­fare of the peo­ple mainly aimed at to do away with ab­ject poverty in South Asia.

He was pre­sid­ing over a meet­ing of SAARC Cham­ber 72nd Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee and 22nd Gen­eral Assem­bly meet­ings of the South Asian As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion's Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try here.

He said in an in­creas­ingly de­vel­oped world, the ob­jec­tives of peace, free­dom, so­cial jus­tice and eco­nomic pros- per­ity are best achieved in the South Asian re­gion by fos­ter­ing mu­tual un­der­stand­ing, good neigh­borly re­la­tions and mean­ing­ful co­op­er­a­tion among the mem­ber states which are bound by ties of his­tory and cul­ture.

SAARC Cham­ber has been proac­tively ad­vo­cat­ing stronger com­mer­cial and eco­nomic re­la­tions, for a pros­per­ous and in­te­grated South Asia. Since its in­cep­tion, SAARC CCI has played an in­te­gral role in pro­vid­ing an in­sti­tu­tional frame­work for pro­mot­ing eco­nomic and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion in South Asia," said Su­raj Vaidya.

He fur­ther stated that SAARC should adopt a global ap­proach and should fo­cus on a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties like poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, im­prove­ment of the health sec­tor, trade and com­merce in the re­gion.

He said South Asia com­prises 3 per- cent of the world's area, 21% of the world's pop­u­la­tion and 3.8% (US$ 2.9 tril­lion) of the global econ­omy. The re­spec­tive gov­ern­ments are try­ing to give its peo­ple a much higher qual­ity of life racked by high il­lit­er­acy, dis­missal health care and san­i­ta­tion.

He re­marked that ini­tia­tives may be taken to uti­lize the po­ten­tial of co­op­er­a­tion in the ar­eas of tourism and en­ergy of the re­gion. He said that with a view to en­sur­ing trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion in the re­gion the prob­lems re­gard­ing SAARC VISA Sticker, re­moval of trade bar­ri­ers in­clud­ing NTMs, ac­cep­tance of stan­dard cer­tifi­cate, lim­i­ta­tions of in­fra­struc­ture in the land ports, etc should be re­moved.

He said the lead­ing busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties of all 8 coun­tries feel that closer col­lab­o­ra­tion amongst busi­ness­men is in­te­gral for re­gional in­te­gra­tion and is a win-win sit­u­a­tion for all stake­hold­ers.

"At SAARC CCI, our aim is to fa­cil­i­tate busi­nesses of South Asia and to en­cour­age in­vestors from SAARC re­gion and be­yond to in­vest in SAARC coun­tries. We strongly feel that this ex­change will ad­dress ma­jor chal­lenges the re­gion faces; job cre­ation for the youth of South Asia, our re­gion's big­gest as­set; and poverty," he added.

Mean­while Vice Pres­i­dent SCCI Iftikhar Ali Ma­lik un­der­scored that un­less strong com­mit­ment was shown by all na­tions in the re­gion to­wards re­spect­ing and hon­or­ing sov­er­eign equal­ity, the progress of SAARC will keep get­ting ham­pered.

He said SAARC should adopt a global ap­proach and should fo­cus on a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties like poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, im­prove­ment of the health sec­tor, trade and com­merce in the re­gion.

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