KARACHI - Economic Officer of US Consulate General in Karachi, Richard Bakewell and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Abdullah Zaki have stressed the need for closer relations between Pakistan and India, which would certainly encourage peace in the entire region.

Talking to the KCCI office bearers and Managing Committee members during his visit to KCCI, Richard Bakewell added that United States wants to see stable Pakistan and India. Referring to tension at the Line of Control between Pakistan and India, Abdullah pointed out that it creates problems for the business community as it has been observed that in such circumstances, the LCs of 90 days’ time period are changed to LC on sight while in some cases, the trade deal is even canceled.

President KCCI stressed the need to effectively deal with non-tariff barriers which remain major hurdle in promoting trade between Pakistan and India.

Commenting on granting Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India, President KCCI opined that high trade deficit with India was the main reason, which probably refrains Pakistan to give MFN status to India.

The reasons for this high deficit is the reluctance on Indian side to freely allow exporters of Pakistan to reach out to the Indian markets along with several tariff and non-tariff barriers and other operational inefficiencies, he explained. He added that there exists a biased attitude towards Pakistan whereas the trust deficit, restrictive visa policy and difficulties in custom clearance are causing immense hardships for Pakistani exporters who are unable to reap the trade potential.

He also advocated opening of Monabao-Khokhrapar border for trade in order to further encourage trade between the two countries. “In this regard, setting up of warehouses and cold storage houses on both sides of the border can certainly facilitate trade of various goods, particularly the perishable items.”

Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees and Managing Committee members Saqib Naseem, Zafar Saeed Baghpatee, Rizwan Deewan, Saqib, Abid Nisar and others were also present at the meeting.