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‘Pakistan can tap trade potential of Central Asian states’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is now well positioned to further tap the trade potential of Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs), said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Speaking at the launch ceremony of Pakistan-Afghanistan-Central Asian Republic States Trade Summit (PACTS) Tuesday, Dar said, “There is a huge trade potential in Afghanistan and five other Central Asian states, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to offer a sizeable market for Pakistani goods, services and investment.”

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The ceremony was organised by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI).

He said that a Joint Business Council, comprising leading businessmen from both the countries, had also been established to increase business to business interaction.

Talking about Pak-Afghan bilateral trade value, the minister revealed that it had increased from $1.11 billion in 2005-06 to $1.84 billion in 2015-16, which meant greater potential to enhance trade.

He said that Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) had been established to monitor effective implementation of the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement 2010 and so far, six APTTCA meetings had been held.

Growth projections

Dar said that now the target was for higher, sustainable, and inclusive growth, adding that the International Monetary Fund raised GDP growth forecast for Pakistan for FY17 from 4.7% to 5% and projected GDP growth of 5.5% in FY2021.

The Asian Development Bank raised the GDP forecast for Pakistan for 2017 from 4.8% to 5.2%, said Dar, adding that the Harvard University study had projected 5.07% annual GDP growth of the country till 2024.

World Bank projected 5% GDP growth for Pakistan in FY17 and 5.4% in FY18, he added.

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The finance minister assured that it was the firm resolve of the government to achieve higher and more sustainable growth.

The minister also said that initiatives like CAREC, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Pakistan’s commitment to join in the Ashgabat Agreement and Lapis Lazuli Corridor would further support the CARs trade plans.

“Our region is very rich in economic, human and natural resources and connectivity of this region will usher in new vistas of prosperity. CPEC is a game changer and we would like other neighbouring countries to take advantage of this project.”

Dar assured the RCCI that the government would seriously consider the charter of demands presented by the RCCI president.

courtesy : dawn news



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