KARACHI: The representatives of industrial and trade bodies urged registered members and other industrial units and exporters to enhance exports of traditional and non-traditional products. This will increase amount of foreign exchange earnings, helping Pakistan compete with neighbouring countries well. Pakistan is the gateway to three important economic blocks of countries, with Karachi providing access to traders to bring goods into Pakistan.
The merchandise is sold or re-exported to these three blocks of countries, namely Iran-Turkey, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries and the states of the former Soviet Union. Agha Saiddain, senior executive member of Pakistan Tanners Association, said by increasing trade and economic activities with other business partners, Pakistan could prosper on a sustainable basis.
The Association was impressed by the amount of tonnage this port could carry, especially given it was a channel and not technically sea. Exporters showed immense interest in the potential of investing and warehousing near the port to enhance export and import activities.
Pakistan Yarn Merchant Association senior member Ghulam Rabbani said, "We invite investors to come and spend in various fields and in the people of Pakistan and hold talks with representatives of trade and business. We want to have fair access to American markets. There are presently certain American and international rules and regulations that are discriminatory and based on quotas, where Pakistan is getting lesser share of trade that it deserves, being resourceful with large consumer market."
There is a dire need for better use of Port Qasim into a free trade and green zone that would promote shipping and trading activities manifold. In this regard Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Houston Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA) are engaged, said senior member KCCI Sanaullah Khan.
Better bilateral trade relations between Karachi and Houston are in Pakistan as well as USA's interests. Senior member HKSCA Muhammad Saeed Sheikh said Port of Houston Authority is the busiest port in the United States in terms of foreign tonnage, second busiest in the United States in terms of overall tonnage and thirteenth busiest in the world.
Urgent out of the box solutions were needed for duty free imports of Pakistani textile products, particularly garments, towels, bedsheets and other textile made-ups without waiting or completing the process of FTA/BIT as duty free imports have been allowed to various countries by USA.
"We remain focused on building strong business linkages between the business communities of other countries," Jawed Bilwani of Pakistan Apparel Forum said. But there were reportedly delays in getting USA business visas by Pakistani traders and exporters, which reduces trade opportunities over time.
KCCI was playing an active role in strengthening the foundation of business community to effectively meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and to promote trade and industry in Karachi and elsewhere, maintaining its distinction of being the 8th largest chamber in the world and leading Chamber in Pakistan and the sub-continent.