Senior diplomats from ASEAN and business leaders stress the need to re-evaluate Pak-ASEAN economic ties

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Staff Reporter

Senior diplomats from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Senior business leaders on Wednesday expressed the need to re-evaluate the economic and trade relations between ASEAN and Pakistan in order to further enhance mutual economic and trade potential, which will open new avenues for economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

Under the auspices of Pakistan ASEAN Business Forum, Chairman ASEAN Islamabad Committee and Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Adam M. Tugio participated in the forum as Chief guest and former President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce , Zafar Bakhtawari hosted the forum.

The speakers said that there has been a major policy breakthrough under the present Pakistan’s government, when the government has shifted its policy from geopolitical to geo-economic approach, which will further strengthen Pakistan’s economic and trade relations with the potential trading partner like ASEAN.

While addressing the session Chairman ASEAN Islamabad Committee and Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Adam M. Tugio said that in order to strengthen economic and trade ties between ASEAN and Pakistan, the relationship between the government, the business community and the people needs to be re-established.

He said that Pakistan also has a free trade agreement with China and the same FTA has been signed between ASEAN and China from which both countries can benefit.

He said that Pakistan and ASEAN need to work on more sectors and increase their regional approach to increase bilateral trade.

Director General Foreign Office Amir Ahmad Datozi said that there are huge opportunities for Pakistan in the economies of ASEAN countries with a GDP of $ 3 trillion.

He said the two sides are pursuing integrated policies on trade and economic relations, which are expected to yield good results in the near future.

President United Business Group Zubair Tufail said that the volume of bilateral trade between ASEAN and Pakistan is only $7 billion which is far below its potential.

General Secretary, UBG and former ICCI President Zafar Bakhtawari said that a Free Trade Agreement was needed between Pakistan and ASEAN to promote economic and trade relations between the two sides.

President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shakeel Munir said that economic and trade relations between Pakistan and ASEAN need to be further enhanced.

In this regard, there is a need to improve relations in business communities on both sides and exchange of trade delegation.

The Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Tiean Phong, said that in order to achieve economic and trade potential in ASEAN countries and Pakistan, mutual talks and implementation of agreements are needed.

He said that Pakistan and ASEAN are two major markets between which cooperation could open new avenues for economic and trade cooperation.

The Ambassador of Thailand Chakkrid Krachaiwong, hinted at the signing of a free trade agreement between Pakistan and Thailand. Malaysia’s Charge’ di Affairsurges increase in ASEAN-Pakistan trade volume.

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