Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosted a dinner in honour of ASEAN countries ambassadors & diplomats. Mr. San Myint Oo Ambassador of Myanmar and Chairman ASIAN Committee, Mrs. Burhan Muhammad wife of Ambassador of Indonesia, Domingo Lucenario. Jr. Ambassador of Philippines, Col. Rtd Haji Ra’emi Maleek Haji Abdul Wahab High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam and their spouses participated in the dinner.
Speaking at the occasion, Zafar Bakhtawari, President, and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said ASEAN is a very important region for Pakistan as it is a huge market of 550 million people. Therefore, Pakistan gives priority focus to promoting trade with ASEAN countries. He said Pakistan has the potential to increase trade with ASEAN region by $ 45 billion in a few years and private sector should be facilitated to realize this huge potential.
He said Pakistan has a huge scope to promote exports to ASEAN region and government should take some policy measures to encourage the private sector to capture a better share in this attractive region. He said there are many big economies in ASEAN bloc including Thailand $425 billion, Indonesia $834 billion and Malaysia $471 billion and Pakistan can revive its economy by getting better penetration in these countries.
Zafar Bakhtawari also called upon the ASEAN governments to support Pakistan in getting the full dialogue partner of ASEAN bloc. He said Pak-China Economic Corridor is the most significant project and it also offers tremendous trade opportunities to ASEAN nations as by developing close relations with Pakistan, ASEAN countries could get direct access to Central Asia through Gwadar Port. He said Pakistan is the gateway to Middle East and ASEAN countries should take more initiatives to strengthen relations with Pakistan to take full benefit of its geographical location to reach other markets.
He emphasized upon the ASEAN ambassadors & diplomats to make efforts for establishing direct air links with Pakistan, especially between the capitals of Pakistan and ASEAN countries, which will pave way for improving trade and commerce. He also announced to form Pak-ASEAN Business Council to enhance trade and said that ICCI would also organize a Capital Chambers Conference involving ASEAN countries to explore all avenues of cooperation with this region.
Mr. Imran Yawar Director General Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Safdar Hayat Pakistan Ambassador designate to Philippines, former Ambassador to Indonesia Gen. Ali Baz Khan, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce Mr. Anjum Asad Amin, former Presidents of ICCI M/s. Tariq Sadiq, Munawar Mughal, Khalid Javed, Mian Shaukat Masud, Zahid Maqbool, Baser Daud and a large number of business community also attended the dinner.