SAARC Chamber to hold high level meeting today

Salim Ahmed


Stage is set for high level SAARC Chamber 73rd Executive ommittee and 22nd General Assembly meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Islamabad on Tuesday (today).
Talking to media here on Monday, Vice President of SAARC Chamber’s Pakistan chapter Iftikhar Ali Malik said that both meetings will be chaired by the SAARC Chamber President Suraj Vaidya separately.
Vice presidents from member countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Maldive, Bhutan and Pakistan along with their delegations will attend the meetings.
“The meetings will finalise chamber’s proposed initiatives to be undertaken in the current year, while the formation of a China business council will also be approved unanimously after taking all the stakeholders into confidence,” he added.
He said the meetings will also discuss the forthcoming three-day SAARC Business Leaders Conclave scheduled to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in March this year.
The Industry officials have been emphasising that enhancement of regional connectivity through the spill-over benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can greatly benefit the SAARC members in terms of trade.
Iftikhar Malik said the chamber has been striving to boost the trade and investment among members since its inception, but without much success as the intra-regional figures for the association continue to remain disappointing.
He said the trade in the region constitutes only 1.4 percent of the total world imports and 1.2 percent of exports, whereas merchandise trade is only 27.9 percent of GDP, the lowest in the world.
SAARC comprises around 3 percent of the world’s area, 21 percent of the world’s population and 3.8 percent or $2.9 trillion of the global economy.
Malik said South Asia can become super economic hub if all indigenous resources are fully exploited and ironing out political and geographical differences among the SAARC member countries especially result oriented parleys between two nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan to make the region a driving engine for the world economy.
The meeting in addition to its agenda will also review the arrangements being made in connection with forthcoming SAARC Chamber Business Leaders Conclave being held in Kathmandu next month. Secretary General Ms Hina Saeed and Deputy Secretary General Zulfiqar Ali Butt will brief the all foreign delegates about arrangements.

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