AMRITSAR: “A ‘Friendship Park’ at both sides of the Attari-Wagah border should be set up to facilitate bilateral trade and commerce between the two countries," said Rajiv Bali, Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry on returning from Pakistan.
He said the two Chambers have already urged their respective India and Pakistani Governments for the establishment of a facility to conduct Business to Business meetings among the businessmen of two countries at Attari- Wagah border where special one day permit could be issued to the interested business personals by the Government authorities of two sides to address necessary concerns on the same lines as permits are being issued to the truck drivers.
In the prospect of increasing number of tradable items between India and Pakistan through Attari-Wagah border, Bali said, “both the Chambers agreed to urge their respective governments for the establishment of necessary infrastructure including godowns for storage and equipment/machinery for loading and offloading of goods.”
Bali, accompanied by Rupinder Singh Sachdeva, Co-Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHD Chamber, Dalip Sharma, Regional Director, PHD Chamber had visited Pakistan as part of the delegation lead by Sukhbir Singh Badal,Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, last week.
Bali lauded Deputy Chief Minister for taking keen interest in the growth and development in the trade ties of the two countries which would also give a fillip to the trade of the region.Expressing the visit to be an excellent opportunity, Bali informed that PHD Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) for mutual co-operation to further improve the trade between the two countries especially through Punjab.
Delving into the details of the ‘Friendship Park’, Bali said that under the bounded area of “Friendship Park”, meeting rooms for the traders and industrialists of both countries, auditoriums for organizing conferences & seminars, hospital, stadium for games (like cricket, hockey and other traditional games); cinemas and shopping centers may be established.
Bali informed that as per the MoU, both the Chambers shall facilitate the exchange of information about the products and manufactures of products; and respective buyers, sellers and service providers in both the countries. The Chambers also agreed to urge their governments to initiate the trade in local currency and open bank branches in each other’s country.
Both the Chambers, he said, would work in close tandem to promote and facilitate the trade of more items through Attari-Wagah border and Hussainiwala- Gandasingh (Kasur) border especially after the opening of the Integrated Check Post subject to proper infrastructure. PHD Chamber, Bali said, would also set up a special cell at its Chandigarh Regional office to provide trade related information to the industry in Pakistan in order to promote trade. Lahore Chamber will also establish a facilitation cell at LCCI for the provision of similar kind of services to facilitate the business communities of two countries.
PHD Chamber and the Lahore Chamber agreed to work closely to develop mechanism for handling business arbitrations with the support of both the Governments.
R S Sacdeva, Co-Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHD Chamber informed that both the Chambers shall plan strategic trade delegations to either country. Further, as per the MoU, joint exhibitions for products and services in India and Pakistan shall be organized in both India and Pakistan. Both LCCI and PHD Chamber shall strive to expand and develop bilateral relations and cooperation in the fields of trade, industry, investment and other economic fields between the both countries.
Through more trade delegations for business networking and trade promotion, he said, the two Chambers will encourage the exchange of experts for the transfer of technology, which will play vital role in enhancing the business productivity. The two Chambers, he said, will promote and facilitate in organizing the sector specific, B2B exhibition at each other place. Dalip Sharma, Regional Director, PHD Chamber said that both the nations enjoy cultural, social and economic similarities apart from geographical proximity, which can go a long way in strengthening our bi-lateral economic ties. He said that the need was to reduce the trust deficit between the people of India and Pakistan.
Sharma said that the diverse and vibrant consumer markets in both the countries offer immense opportunities for business, which would generate employment opportunities and give a push to the growth index. He expressed the need to explore partnerships in SME sector and services sector. Pakistan’s major exports to India included vegetables, fruits and nuts, cotton, mineral fuels, salt, lime and cement, but the value of these items contribute to a miniscule share of India’s total imports. A major portion of these items was imported by India from other countries to fill the requirements.
Sharma said, the direct trade in these items by reducing informal trade with other countries, would benefit in terms of cost as well as time. Pakistan, he said, showed keen interest to import dairy products, tea, dyeing extracts, chemical and rubber products from India.