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Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry organises reception in honour of High Commissioner of India

Karachi, June 11, 2013 (PPI-OT): Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) organized a reception in honour of the High Commissioner of India H.E. Sharat Sabharwal to bid farewell on completion of his diplomatic assignment in Pakistan.

Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli recognized the High Commissioner’s efforts on confidence building measures between Pakistan and India and stated that he acted as a bridge between two Nations.

He said that High Commissioner Sabharwal played an important role in the recent bilateral talks on economic and commercial cooperation between two countries. He hoped that the Indo-Pak relations will become more cordial and satisfactory in coming days.

He recalled that on the occasion of the visit of KCCI’s first High-level business delegation to India which received overwhelming response from both sides, he impressed upon the Indo-Pak Governments to build more confidence building measures and emphasized to resume the bilateral dialogues from point left rather going back to square-one.

He expressed satisfaction over the positive moves by Indo-Pak Governments for strengthening commercial and economic ties during last two years. It is in the interest of both countries to live together maintaining cordial relationship and both sides are learning day by day, he opined.

He hoped the existing hurdles in respect to trade between two countries will overcome soon. He presented his best compliments to the High Commissioner for his vibrant and meaningful interaction with KCCI during last four years and wished him best for his future.

Earlier, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s President Muhammad Haroon Agar in his welcome note appreciated the efforts of Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to foster economic, trade and friendly bilateral relations between Pakistan and India. Expressing best compliments, Haroon Agar stated the High Commissioner Sabharwal successfully projected and promoted the interests of both countries.

The High Commission of India under the dynamic lead of Sabharwal disseminated information about trade with India, facilitated the members/ business community in respect of Consular and Visa Services. He recognized the role of High Commissioner in the Indo-Pak positive developments and commercial and economic talks through Commerce Secretaries and Ministers.

The KCCI also signed agreement with Bombay Chamber to form Bombay-Karachi Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry which has been recognized by the Indo-Pak Governments, he added. Sharat Sabharwal is equally popular in the public, private sectors and the Diplomatic circles. KCCI sincerely acclaim and recognize services rendered by High Commissioner Sabharwal during his tenure in Islamabad and wishes success in his future diplomatic assignments, he added.

Chairman Sindh Board of Investment and Former President KCCI Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, exchanging views on the occasion pointed out the Pakistan and India both need energy. He informed that an Indian company at Rajasthan border was interest to exploit Thar coal reserves of Pakistan for producing energy and provide electricity to Pakistan on barter-basis.

The Thar coal reserves are available in the Thar region of both sides of border. The Indian company is already generating electricity on the order side of border and has offered 1700 MW electricity. The Indian side know about the quality of Thar coal and investors may invest in Thar coal. He said that more confidence building measures are required on areas like Thar Coal and market access to European Union. He proposed that Pakistan and India may present their case jointly.

He opined that both countries should be on one page on common issues. He was also satisfied to note that things between two countries were moving on fast track as many barriers were removed, banking channel agreed, and joint ventures in progress. He was satisfied to note that things between two countries were moving further to remove trade barriers, introduce banking channel, and joint ventures.

High Commissioner of India to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal speaking on the occasion recognized the vibrant role of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in socio-economic progress of Pakistan and to provide constructive proposals for enhancement in Indo Pak bilateral trade.

He voiced that he has been visiting Karachi Chamber since 2009 and meeting its Leadership and Office Bearers on other forums as well. He thanked KCCI for the strong support to the process of building economic and commercial ties and liberalizing trade during last two years.

The Indo Pak dialogues and subsequent developments are not only beneficial for two countries but would also integrate SAARC bloc. He registered his gratitude to business communities of two countries who cooperated and pushed the two governments to move forward. He also admired strong support of Chairman Businessmen Group Siraj Kassam Teli in the process.

He stated that after 5th Round of Talks Indo-Pak Commerce Secretaries on Economic and Commercial Relations in April, 2011, held at Islamabad watershed movements were witnessed. Subsequently, the Indian Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma visited Pakistan in 2012. On the side-lines of the visits of Indo-Pak Commerce Ministers, a roadmap was also drawn.

He recalled that some trade barriers needed attention from both sides and Commerce Ministries of two countries were working on it. He informed that two governments have liberalized visa regime and prioritized opening of banks branches in respective countries while India also allowed Pakistani investors to investment in India. Recently a meeting was held between the officials of central banks of two countries for introducing banking channels.

High Commissioner Sabharwal, on issues relating to Non-Tariff Barriers said that two governments signed 3 agreements viz. Customs Cooperation, Agreement on Mutual Recognition and Redressal of grievances which will be implemented after completion of all legal formalities to streamline bilateral trade. He told that Pakistan’s export to India has increased.

He pointed out one trade barrier was that only 138 trading items were allowed from Wagah-Attari land route while other items from India were transported to Mumbai and then to shipped to Karachi via sea. He stated that the negative list still need to be phased out.

Thereafter likely there would be normalized WTO trade regime. India has already reduced its SAFTA sensitive list by 30 percent from 878 tariff lines to 614 tariff lines. Upon full transition to MFN status, India would thereafter bring down its SAFTA sensitive list to 100 tariff lines drastically while Pakistan will be bringing down its sensitive list to a maximum of 100 tariff lines in next 5 years.

He was of the view that excessive sea trade should be converted to land route via road and railways. He pointed out that the visa regime was also liberalized and 1 year multiple entry business visas were issued to Pakistani businessmen.

Business delegations are visiting from both sides to each other’s country. He conveyed his message that whatever left in the roadmap should be implemented. Both countries should remain committed to building relationship of trust.

Both sides should stick to the roadmap which will subsequently lead to opening and exploring of new avenues of cooperation between two countries. It was, professionally and personally, a rewarding experience of discharging duties and responsibilities as the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, he concluded.

Former Presidents KCCI Majyd Aziz, A.Q. Khalil, Senior Vice President KCCI Shamim Firpo and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting and shared their views on Indo-Pak bilateral Commercial opportunities.

For more information, contact:
M. Shafiq Baig
Public Relations Officer
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)
Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road,
Shahrah-e-Liaquat, Karachi-74000
Tel: +9221 9921 8001 -09
Fax: +9221 9921 8010

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