LAHORE -  A 12-member World Bank Mission and the members of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) discussed Pak-India trade through land route here on Monday.

The World Bank team headed by Ms. Diep Nguyen-van Houtte, Senior Operations Officer, South Asia Regional Integration, spent well over an hour at the LCCI to have information about facilities at Wagha Border. Ms. Diep Nguyen-van Houtte said the LCCI proposals and suggestions would help a lot in early development of much needed infrastructure at Wagha Border and enable the World Bank finalize a trade facilitation policy between India and Pakistan.

In his welcome address, LCCI Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Pakistan and India could play an important role in economic development and trade in this region. Pakistan is keen to have strong trade ties with its neighbors especially with India, he said, adding that a platform should be created to facilitate businessmen on both sides for improving the bilateral trade flow.

He said that private donors should support the cause so that infrastructure should be developed in order to ease the trade activity via borders.

The current facilities available for trade through land route needed to be expanded on both sides and electronic data exchange should be introduced because trade expansion required more specialized logistic services, he said, large logistic service providers with requisite expertise particularly from private sector be encouraged.

He said that testing facilities should be made available at the border and mutual recognition agreements should be signed, since there was a lack of awareness on each others regulatory regimes particularly in pharmaceutical products. While, the officers concerned needed to be better sensitized on both sides trading regimes to reduce unpredictability and poor implementation of laws on the borders, which impair trade environment, he maintained.

The SVP also called for early implementation of new visa policy and its further liberalization by both the countries to improve business to business and people to people contact.

Former SVP Sohail Lashari, former VPs Aftab Ahmad Vohra, Shafqat Saeed Piracha, Saeeda Nazar, Executive Committee Member Mian Zahid Javed and others also spoke on the occasion.