Islamabad: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Monday called for renewed efforts to facilitate and improve bilateral trade between Pakistan and China through land route.
Gilgit-Baltistan has the potential to become an investment haven therefore the government and private sector should exploit investment potential of the area, said Shaikh Imtiaz Ahmed, Vice President FPCCI.
He said that while talking to a group of businessmen that included Johar Ali Raki, President Gilgit-Baltistan Chamber of Commerce, Azhar Akram member managing committee and others. Chairman Media FPCCI Malik Sohail was also present on the occasion.
Gilgit-Baltistan having an area of 72,000 square miles with around 1.3 million people has the potential for rapid development based on tourism and mining, food processing, dry fruits, gems and jewellery and farming, said Shaikh Imtiaz Ahmed.
The VP FPCCI said that the area has enormous hydel power and renewable energy, potential that the government as well as the private sector can exploit.
He lauded the Pak-China agreements to build a new airport and upgrade the Karakorum Highway to build an “economic corridor” through rugged mountains.
On the occasion, Johar Ali Raki, President Gilgit-Baltistan Chamber said that Pakistan-China border was operational seven days a week for years but now it is closed on weekends for two days creating problems for all passenger and cargo transport.
This new schedule has added to the miseries of business community as well as passengers in the mountainous region braving losses, charges and sub-zero temperature, he said, adding that closure has increased cost of doing business.
Raki said that Pakistani exporters are paying a heavy price for problems from the Chinese official which has been very discouraging.
On the other hand, Pakistan authorities who see China as an all-weather friend, have been facilitating customs clearance and other formalities for goods moving from the Chinese regions of Kashgar and Sinkiang to the commercial centres of Pakistan, he said.
He also demanded a special SRO for relaxations in the valuation of goods of exporters from Gilgit-Baltistan.
He congratulated Shaikh Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh on assuming charge of his office and hoped
that he would employ his energy to serve the business community.